Parents: Angry at adult children?

angry at adult children

Parents: Are you angry at adult children?
by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

Anger can be a powerful motivator, so knee-jerk responses to suppress it don’t always make sense. I understand the reason behind this rush to negatively judge the emotion or get it under control. Explosive, aggressive expressions of anger can damage relationships. A quick temper can cloud judgment, too, so impulsive behavior or rash decision-making can follow.

But not everyone who is angry about their adult child’s cruelty or abandonment is in danger of erupting like a volcano. Frequently, anger is an activating emotion that moves these parents from paralyzing sadness and shock toward self-preservation. When relationships with neglectful or bullying adult children have become one-sided, manipulative, or abusive, shifting to focus on one’s own well-being is often the only sensible choice.

In my life coaching work, parents sometimes come to me because they’re angry. They may be feeling uncomfortable about their emotions and stuck in anger—and it’s hurting them. Frequently, there are longer roots or associations that complicate their feelings. Their anger may be scary, but it may also be justified and even “normal” given the circumstances.

Anger: A useful emotion

Despite the discomfort of feeling angry at adult children, the fear we might have toward our anger, and a history of being told to tamp it down, anger is an important emotion. Feeling anger helps us to recognize danger, spot injustice, and work toward solutions. Some of the biggest advances in history may have started with anger.

However, I usually encounter anger when it has become a problem. My clients aren’t typically lashing out in fits of rage or acts of violence, but they may yell and curse in the shower, then feel shaky or guilty later. Maybe they kicked the chair and suffered the consequences of a painful bruise. Or, they snapped at their loyal dog … and then felt horrible seeing those gentle, sad eyes in response.

Sometimes, feeling angry at adult children makes parents uncomfortable in their own skin. The anger some parents feel seems incongruent with who they profess to be—a therapist, a dentist, a clergy member—so they start to feel like a fake, a hypocrite, an imposter. Those feelings then bring all sorts of negative self-judgments and insecurities. Their inner voice begins to hound them:

  • How can I lead others spiritually when I’m so angry?
  • What if I’m distracted when I’m with my patients? They deserve my full presence.
  • How can I help my clients when I can’t seem to help myself?
  • How can I smile and give good customer service when I’m pissed off?

Parents struggling with anger may find themselves triggered in social situations. Lunch with a friend who mentions grandchildren results in simmering rage. How can she be so insensitive?

One mother of two estranged adult children who is no longer allowed to enjoy her grandchildren says feeling sad was easier. “I could get a Kleenex and say my allergies were acting up,” she says. “What can I do with my anger? I can’t yell at my friend. It’s harder to hide when I’m mad.”

The rational side of this mom recognizes that her friend is just living her life. She’s not thinking about this mom’s pain and frustration. Feeling angry then is a secondary shock, and she judges herself for it. The truth is, after a lifetime of being told to control her temper and be nice, this mother’s anger is scary to her. But just as outward displays of aggression can wreak havoc on relationships, repressing it and judging ourselves harshly for it can make us physically sick.

The research (many, many studies) is clear that habitual anger—expressed aggressively or suppressed—has dangerous health consequences including.1

  • Diminished immune function
  • Increased stomach acid
  • Hypertension
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Decreased bone density
  • Increased blood clotting

These physical changes can push chronically angry persons toward a variety of health risks, including more susceptibility to viruses, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, stroke, and so on. I’ve barely scratched the surface here, but any Internet search will find connections between habitual anger that’s suppressed or allowed to explode and increased risk of ill health, as well as thoroughly explain the cascading effects.

Obviously, our thoughts about our anger and the desire to keep it in check make this emotion complicated. Losing control, dismissing, or repressing it isn’t beneficial. By asking questions, we can uncover any roots beyond just feeling angry at adult children, better understand discomfort with the feeling itself, recognize how anger may have been useful previously, and activate the reasoning brain to work with it.

Should parents get mad?

As our children were growing up, we did well to keep their developmental ages in mind. Getting mad didn’t make sense with an immature toddler throwing a tantrum. We might have taken a time-out of our own, sucked in some calming breaths, and then addressed whatever problem may have arisen. We learned to push our anger aside, moderate our responses, remain kind, and work toward solutions. Parents of difficult, abusive, or estranged adult children usually follow this habit. But there comes a time when maintaining these parental behaviors no longer makes sense.

Parents of unkind, neglectful, or abusive adult children have the right to feel angry. Yes, read that again: You have the right to feel angry. These are adults … and they have treated you badly. That doesn’t mean you’ll mirror their rants or abuse. That wouldn’t be wise or helpful. But your anger is telling you something:

  • You’re being wronged.
  • You’re receiving undeserved disrespect.
  • You’re (possibly) in danger.

Anger is a useful cue.

Just because we gave birth to or raised these now fully grown adults doesn’t mean they get the privilege of hurting us. I’ve talked repeatedly about how most of us try to build better relationships and continue to reach out to them when that’s healthy. But there comes a point when anger shifts our perspective—and the anger is justified. As long as we’re not getting lost in that emotion and indulging in hurtful or irresponsible behavior, we don’t have to see ourselves as bad or wrong for feeling it.

If anyone else treated us so badly, we wouldn’t be expected to negatively judge our responses, swallow our anger, and repeatedly put ourselves in the line of fire. Our anger might be called “righteous indignation.” The wrongs would be recognized for what they are, and we’d be applauded for voicing injustice, and walking away with some self-respect.

If you want to read more about what some believe motivates society and authority figures (so called “experts”) who tell parents to do this, get my book, Beyond Done With The Crying. Here, we’ll shift and widen to the concept of “weaponized civility.” It’s the idea that shame is heaped upon marginalized populations for the justified anger they feel. Usually, the term is used in connection with attitudes toward people of color and, occasionally, women. But it can apply to groups of any sort who have been oppressed or wronged.

I recently heard a podcast in which a researcher gave the people of Flint, Michigan as an example. They were angered over lead in the drinking water which, according to many reports, was covered up by the government and allowed to continue hurting area children. When those people protested, officials lectured them about civil discourse. I understand the fear of officials hoping to avoid violence. Civil discourse is needed. At the same time, I empathize with the citizens. Their anger is justified.

As mentioned in Beyond Done With The Crying, parents of estranged adults children can be considered a marginalized population. Many of us are careful who we tell about our situation. We fear the negative judgment that we’re the reason for the rift. And we are judged. Despite the fact that estrangement is much more exposed these days, there is often an underlying belief that adult children don’t reject good parents. That belief hurts. So, it’s easy to hide the facts and become isolated. And then if we’re angry, we’re judged again.

Angry at adult children: Is your anger hurting you?

Has your anger gotten out of control? Do you have rageful periods where you break things? Rant and rave? Do you feel a simmering resentment that you keep in check much of the time but disturbs your sleep or affects your digestive system? Do you find that you’re often angry when driving? Do you ruminate over angry behavior and wish you’d have kept quiet or walked away? Has your angry behavior ever got you into trouble with the law? When was the last time you punched the wall? Hit someone? Yelled? Do you feel guilty for your anger, even though you don’t express it?

Consider whether your feelings of anger are helpful to you, a motivating level up from the paralysis of sadness, say. Or whether your anger is getting the better of you somehow. Earlier, I mentioned someone kicking the chair and suffering the physical consequences. Most of us have experienced an angry moment where we did something useless like this. Or perhaps we slammed down our telephone—and then were thankful the screen didn’t break. For most people, these sorts of outbursts are a rarity. We learn from them and don’t indulge again. We find creative outlets to release our anger through physical activity like gardening, building, or exercise. Others may see they have a bigger problem and would be wise to seek help.

In Beyond Done With The Crying, a few parents shared their experiences with anger and the roots that complicated their feelings and responses. These people successfully changed their relationship with anger. You can too.

Your turn

Do you feel angry at your adult children? I’m not inviting you to rant and rave here, but perhaps you have something helpful to share with another parent. Here’s your chance to leave a comment. Do consider your words and write responsibly.

Resources/Related Reading

Interview with Dr. Ryan Martin: Why we get angry

Negatively stereotyping parents of estranged adult children: It hurts

1. Anger: It’s impact on the Human Body


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182 thoughts on “Parents: Angry at adult children?

  1. Liz P.

    Dear fellow estranged parents,
    This site is so helpful–thank you Sheri! I have sent for the book.
    My story is a little bit different. I am experiencing a lot of self-blame, justified I think and yet also really, really not justified. I would appreciate the opinions of the people here with more experience of this kind of thing.

    My daughter (age 42, married, no kids) has, since June, been acting truly horrible. I think she is about to cut off contact—and the thing is, it would be a relief at this point. When she was small we were very close. She was loved, cherished, maybe coddled a bit, lots of time and attention spent on her, lots of love and laughter with her. Never was she hit and barely ever yelled at; from nutrition to clothes to education to social life, she was top priority.

    Everything changed when she was 16 and her dad (serial cheater; warned him I’d divorce him if he cheated once more) finally went too far, and I divorced him. My first mistake was not explaining to her what happened —I refused to say anything bad about him, as all wise folks advise, and I only would say “I am not going to say anything bad to you about your dad, but i did not take this step lightly, and the marriage was irretrievably broken.” Through the years of the divorce she was angry at me, and when she went off to college, she would barely talk to me on the phone, though I continued to write and send packages and call. She told me in the Spring of her senior year tht she did not want me to come to her graduation. So I didn’t go. Now, 20 years later, she angrily holds that against me. After college she came to live with me (no job) and acted like a teenager the whole time, but at that time I kept telling myself, she is just having a hard adjustment to adult life and has no job and few prospects and is extremely touchy–it’s all situational, I thought, so just let her storm around and be horrible and later on things will settle. Another mistake, I guess.

    She got married (to a really nice guy with an overbearing large family, think dozens of cousins) and the hassles about the wedding were HUGE and upsetting. I tried my best to stay steady and participate by paying and mainly just letting her and her new inlaws do whatever they wanted. Once she was married, I kept in touch, but she moved across the country to the other coast so I would see her every year or every other year. The wealthy inlaws travel a lot so they visited them frequently and they all take family trips together. (I am anything but wealthy.) When she got her Master’s degree I went back to the other coast for her graduation and we all had a celebration lunch together. I also have a serious chronic MS-like disease and have had since she was a teenager; I got tired after the graduation and could not stay the entire day, only about 6 hours of it. She still resents me for leaving after the main celebrations were over and going back to my hotel room to rest instead of staying in their house with the whole clan of inlaws gathered. (I feel guilty too but I was about to relapse and had to get out of there. I went into debt to attend that weekend! but that does not count, in her revisionist history.). She also has a lot of pets in the house and won’t put them outside, and I am severely allergic, but I take benadryl every time I visit (feeling really out of it does not help either).

    Fast forward to now. Over the years I have just allowed it to be what it is. I have in all other respects a really happy and good life, and I have pursued that. I do keep in touch with her. She is frankly much better at keeping in touch: she writes letters, she sends cards (I do too but not as often) and she likes long phone calls and lots of texting and email. I like short calls and emails but I don’t text or do Facebook, which she does. I send presents and about ten years ago she blew up for reasons I still don’t understand and insisted that we STOP GIVING PrESENTS. So I stopped. Guess what: suddenly now she wants me to send presents and thinks it is awful that I don’t. OK, so I do again. I feel so jerked around by this childish 42 year old.

    Long ago I stopped trying to give her any advice. we had a huge blowup about tattoos a decade ago: she knows I dislike them, but she insists on bringing it up. My take is, it is your body, you can do whatever you want with it. It is not my body! They aren’t my thing, but “you do you,” as they say. (But don’t expect me to praise your disgusting offensive tattoos.–I don’t say that part of course.). Yet she constantly brings it up and rubs my nose in it. As if she wants to start a fight.

    She has drifted from job to job but refuses to ask for any advice from me (she drifts in and out of the industry where I work and have worked successfully for 30 years). I have said—if you ever want any advice or help or contacts, let me know. But no. I have seen her make newbie mistakes that made her unhirable in my industry. But ok, I kept my mouth shut.

    This summer we had a couple of horrible phone calls in which I lost my patience and answered back in kind. Usually I just let her say anything she wants and I don’t react openly, I just say “Oh, wow, really? How interesting.” Or, “gosh, I am surprised, do you think so?”, or “Oh, I guess that was hard for you” or just any neutral comment that focuses on HER and keeps my reactions private. I have pulled away from her and stopped telling her anything about my life because she tends to use it against me. She visited me several times over the years—these visits were agonizing for me because she is so hard to be around. But I tried to make the best of it, welcome her and her husband, and have things for them/us to do (we went to a mountain cabin once; we went to a resort once; they came here once). She was SO SNOTTY AND RUDE to me and to my new husband, who has never been anything but nice to her. We tried to ignore it. But it is just so unpleasant to deal with her.

    So over the years I was pulling away, keeping the relationship alive superficially but basically not sharing much that’s real in my life or thoughts with her and not reacting to all the drama-queen stuff she flings at me, just to keep the peace. She hurt my feelings on those visits and it was clear that my health, safety, needs, preferences were fine for her to trample on and ignore. It was fine for her to be a guest in my home and be completely rude. (It was not fine with me, but under the new adult rules, I have no place telling her what to do any more. But do I have to have her in my home? )

    The inlaws, she said this summer, are so great and so loving and so much fun and so fantastic, but I, alas, am not any of those things. (I almost said—hey, that sounds great: hang with them, and I’ll never bother you again!). Is it a coincidence that all this started when I sent her a copy of my will for safe keeping, showing her she gets everything (even though it is a pathetically small amount)? specially compared to the wealthy inlaws?

    I want to know if it is possible to have a mutually respectful, equal, friendly relationship with an adult child. Athough she has grown up to be someone I can barely recognize, and frankly someone I would not choose as a friend, how do I keep this relationship going, or should I? (We have little in common, we have very different styles of interacting, and a lot of things she does and says are a big turn off, not pleasant to be around—loud, crude, interrupts, dominates conversations—things she never did as a young person because that stuff was not allowed in our home).

    What kind of relationship is even possible? And why would I want to stay connected to this person, despite how very very sad it is that the adorable, sweet kid she was for the first 14 years seems now to be lost forever?

  2. Alicia

    Maybe I did things backwards or out of order, I don’t know as ik still trying to figure out where things went wrong.
    I am estranged from my daughter and it was my doing. I finally got sick of the disrespect, the constant lies about everything, being left out of important moments in her life and treated poorly. After years of the mentioned treatment, the final straw was when she ghosted me at a planned Sunday dinner – no show no call no word for 10 days. I knew she was alive because I saw her on messenger and this wasn’t the first time I was “forgotten” . When she finally texted me after 10 days with a Hey girl what are you doing? I knew I could either address the issue, ignore her as she had done me so often or keep my mouth shut. After not responding for a few hours, she texted again asking if she had done something to upset me. I told her she hadn’t done something that she had done a whole lot and proceeded to layout all the ways she had hurt me, disrespected me, lied to and disregarded my feeling over the years. I told her she was burning bridges that she wasn’t going to be able to repair and I thought we needed to go out separate ways. That I loved her and wanted the best for her but I couldn’t do this anymore. The ups and downs the being included and then excluded for months etc. She replied by cussing me out and telling me how toxic and negative I am and always living in the past and that is why she doesn’t come around.
    Over the past 3 years I have asked repeatedly why don’t you come around, have I said or done something to offend you? The reply was “I’m busy” even though I saw her with her bio dad and his family and out with friends. I will never know why she turned on me, I suspect her bio dad has turned her against me as we were always close until he came back in thr picture 21 years later.
    Over the past few years I felt so angry and irritated and now even though I’m sad, I don’t feel that way anymore. Anger is a strange emotion as it can cost us dearly with our health and relationships but can also be freeing in a way when it moves us to take action
    It is hard to answer questions about your child because we are so often judged for being estranged and people assume we must have been bad parents. I’m thankful for this forum and for the stories shared

    1. Kim

      Thank you so much for being honest. I have felt so desperate for years, thinking what have I done? What did I do wrong?
      Beating myself up and going out of my mind. I have been searching for years for answers and someone to share this sad, lonely and toxic way of living/ existing.

    2. Kim

      Wow, reading that is ‘ditto’ thank you for sharing.
      Thank you, it’s comforting hear your story.
      I get the same response: I’m busy, I have plans, you’re negative and always having a go at me!
      My heart bleeds over and over again.
      I offer to do ironing, chores, gardening, homework with the kids!!! Anything, just to be involved.
      I feel that i don’t know where to turn.
      Actually, I do I pray and talk to God about it several times a day.

  3. Beckie

    Our 1st grandchild was born a year ago. Our relationship with my 30+ married daughter was fine. She is an only child and had every advantage (which I now see may have been a problem, though she was NEVER a problem before). She and her husband live 2 minutes away; we sold them their home (another huge gift). We had often talked with them about how wonderful it would be to be nearby when they had kids. I was saddened to learn that, as my daughter calls it, we have “misaligned expectations.” Visits went from 2x a week (45 minutes) to once a week in January. I ached to see my grandchild but kept myself very busy with people who love me and lots of activities and travel. In the past few months — with absolutely no negative interactions at all — she has slowly reduced visits to every 9-10 days. She is a homemaker with one very easy going, delightful baby, not an employed mom with a hectic life. This week, I was to have babysat for the first time. She cancelled the day before “due to a car issue” (husband was taking their only car to work). I offered my car for her “errand” and told her it was a momentous day for me. (Hint: very important to me.) She said no to the car. I then responded that it was very important to me, could I come over for a visit the next day? She responded yes but that she is cutting visits to every other week. That was my “I’ve had it” moment. There is no heart there at all. I have cut ties with her. I can’t let this continue. It has aged me a decade in a year. I realize I may be screwing myself over but I also know that I have been incredibly sad for the past year since the bonding I thought I’d have with this child isn’t going to be allowed. I am sad but also relieved.

    1. Jeanette W.

      This is my first time texting about my daughter, I don’t feel like she’s my daughter. I never felt pain like this before. I was so emotional and depressed and Angry. It’s been 7 years now and she moved to Vegas with my granddaughter and grandson and my great grandson. I thought it would get better but it haven’t, I don’t know what to do she said I didn’t give her what she needed growing up. I was a single parent worked 6 or 7 days a week put her in Private school. So she would have a better Education than me. I Showed her love and gave her all of me. But she never sad she loved me. I’m so tired I had to see a Therapist I thought I was going to die. This is my only child, I have tried to talk to here but she says she have nothing to say or she’s busy. But she talks to her father out their and he didn’t do anything for her when she was a child. Now that makes me very Angry, I broke up a whole set of dishes about that. But not anymore. I just feel like I’m not a good mother, I went to see her in 2021 for Xmas and I stayed in a Hotel. I cried every night I was so glad to get home. Don’t know what to do maybe write her a letter, she don’t call me it’s like I don’t Exit.

      1. Diane H.

        You do exist. You do have value and you do deserve so much better. Now take a breath and lift your chin right up and slowly but surely build a life for yourself that doesn’t include lonely painful stays in hotel rooms. You are not your daughters punch bag. Very best wishes coming your way ..

      2. Michelle M.

        Im sorry this has been so difficult for you. I know the pain of losing a adult child to estrangement. Its like going through a death, but it is harder for me. At least when someone dies, you have some closure, for the most part. I miss my daughter I do not get angry, just sad. You’re not alone. Do something for you! Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction. P

      3. Kim

        I’m so sad to hear this Jeanette. You did the best you could , that’s amazing that you had her best interest at heart by funding a private school. I feel your pain.
        Stay strong and surround yourself with nature and like minded people.
        It blows my mind, when I hear about the fathers who haven’t been present at the time of need or absent most of their child’s life, but they get more respect.
        That’s similar to my experience too.
        My husband ( of 21 years) worked and played away. Sadly, when he was home he was controlling and drunk every weekend. My life was so fragmented I don’t know how I survived. My daughter ( from 14 years old ) would say to me , “ Divorce him mam!”
        I did eventually ( when I my courage muscles) divorce him. That’s another story. I still can’t believe that I escaped the hands and mind of a First Class Narcissist.
        Faith keeps me going and the power of prayer.

    2. Penelope M.

      I honor you as a woman who is worthy and brave!!
      I am learning to honor myself as a brave woman who can like me as simply me
      Thank you for sharing Penny M

    3. Kim

      I’m so sorry to hear this Beakie, thank you so much for being honest. I thought I was the only suffering in this way.
      I have felt so desperate for years, thinking what have I done? What did I do wrong?
      Beating myself up and going out of my mind. I have been searching for years for answers and someone to share this sad, lonely and toxic way of living/ existing.

      1. JaneJ

        Wow! This all sounds like my story.
        My 40 year old D walked out on me after telling me to F*ck Off just four days after my brother passed away. I was still in shock and grief as his death was unexpected. My father, her beloved Papa, had passed away only a few months before and I was still dealing with that grief. I’m also trying to be supportive of my mom who is in her 80s and grieving.

        There has been no help or support whatsoever from the D with any of our family situations. Just silence and judgement.
        The ED was living here for nearly a year and the tension was so HIGH. She has extremely high standards and nothing was ever good enough for her. But the rent was free.
        This was the sixth or seventh time she has moved home since she became an adult.

        Even though I am angry as hell at what she has done to me, her grandmother, our family, I am also relieved and heart broken.
        Relieved that the tension of the house is GONE and it’s blissfully peaceful here again.
        Heart broken that I raised such a narcissistic human being when I and my parents did everything I could to give her a beautiful life. What a waste of my time, energy, love and money.

  4. Denise

    I have moved from anger to acceptance. I recently had a significant surgery and it popped in my head, that she never showed up, and that i never expected her to. Now i know i have many fewer years in front of me, and that i will, more than likely, die alone. That is the next hurdle i must accept. If i could go back and be her parent again? The answer is no.

    1. Jan K

      Dear Denise, yes if I could go back and choose to be a parent again, I would choose not. Isn’t it so very sad? I said to my husband I’m so glad I only had one child as I couldn’t take this twice over. I have actually discussed with my husband that I would like to have a bit of a clear out (mainly stuff accumulated in the attic over the years but also wardrobes full of clothes we no longer wear). This is because I know our son will probably not be willing to help (if we see him at all) when we get older and I’d sooner sort everything out now whilst we are both fit and healthy.

    2. Robin

      I too recently had major surgery, after a life threatening diagnosis. No calls, no visits. After my diagnosis, and 1 week prior to my surgery, she (26yrs old) again, cut me out of hers and my grandson’s life, after calling me “selfish” for saying no to babysitting 18 month old grandson one evening, when previously I had never said no. Reflecting back, these patterns have occurred with her since she was 14. Verbal abuse, discards, emotional weaponry beyond belief. (Her father committed suicide when she was 4 years old. This was a tool she often used against me. It was my fault). I raised she and her brothers on my own, and they wanted for nothing. She could easily reduce me to tears, and seems to enjoy it. She’d lure me back in with lovebombing, I’m the best mother ever, then instantly yank the rug from under me, if I dared advise her, or disagree over the simplest things. Since the birth of my grandson, I had 2 weeks with him, then she kept telling me the other grandmother was better, because she was an OB nurse, so was more “capable” to be in his life. (She is now estranged from other grandmother too).I was “toxic”, because I expressed hurt and upset, over her comments, and she cut me off for 2 months. She lured me back in. I spent many days per week with my beautiful grandson for months, caring for him also for a full week while she went to Mexico. Such amazing love and bond with my grandson. The end of July, she yanked the rug out again, and have been estranged since. I am again devastated, but this time, incredibly angry too. Angry, because she has done this to me yet again, and I tell myself, now, this is the last time! It is like a DEATH, I keep mourning, over and over again. I cannot understand WHY she seems to enjoy and get pleasure from having inflicting pain on me over and over, and such emotional damage. What a toll it has taken over the years, on me; physically too! I keep myself isolated, have lost weight, and can’t bring myself to talk about it with anyone. Being such a part of their lives for the months I was, brought me immense joy, and it is gone again. Why?? My whole sense of peace and well being, has always been family focused. That I gave her the power to hold it in her hands over the years, angers me. That life just doesn’t and will never be the same again from this latest time, has left such a deep hole in my heart. To weaponize my grandson against me, speaks volumes to me, of who she truly is as a person. I see that now. Time will tell, if I can ever accept this, as my new reality, and move on, feeling whole again. My confidence as a person, mother, woman, is completely gone. I always forgave her before, over the years, and loved her unconditionally, no matter what. It is hard to move on from this.
      I am so happy to have found this site, and to realize I am far from alone.

    3. Liz P.

      I agree, Denise: if I had it to do over again I would NOT have kids.

      I too had a serious recent health issue and hospitalization, and my daughter picked that moment to start a huge blow up with me, knowing I was not supposed to have any stress. I was so glad when the nurses threw her out! So much for all our years of effort and sacrifice, eh?! In a way you just have to shake your head and keep putting one foot in front of the other and live a good life, the life we have. There is a whole lot of good in life apart from the kids one had.

      Please don’t worry about dying alone. I know that sounds weird, but even if we have 20 people around the bedside, we die alone: It is a journey each person undertakes on her own. I was with my dad and mom, and also with an aunt, and for each one, for a while at the end, they did not know anyone was there. Having experienced that with each of them, I truly feel like it will be ok to go when my time comes, and I’ll get to go on one last independent adventure. And until then I intend to have a very good life, and if Angry Rejecting Grown Daughter is not there, it does not change my intention and in a weird way will take a burden off and make things calmer and more pleasant. I hope that helps. Warm good wishes to you and to all of us.

  5. Lisa R.

    Beloved Estranged Parents,

    I read your posts fairly regularly, just to remind myself that I am not alone and that I am not crazy. I am in my 10th year of estrangement with my daughter and have experienced all of the extreme sorrow, self-doubt, rage, etc. that present themselves on this despicable journey. How timely that the current conversation has focused on anger as I am right this minute in the center of a situation with this daughter. I no longer question myself daily (just only on occasion) and have ever so slowly started to heal.

    Here’s what’s happening right this minute, and, thankfully, I am not allowing anger to ravage my body or psyche. To set the stage: I’ve seen my (entitled) daughter no more than 6 times over the last 10 years – her choice. The last time I saw her was last October at my son’s wedding, and then she walked away from me when I tried to give her a hug. Enough said about that.

    My son is graduating college in September and I am taking him and his family out to dinner to celebrate. I texted my ED and invited her and her boyfriend and, after she took 4 days to think about it, she just replied that she would not be coming. I am not surprised by this but I do think that she could at least make the effort for her brother. This speaks volumes about her personality.

    I just wanted to contribute this to the current thread because, as I said, I am no longer even angry. With each passing year I am coming to know in my heart that she is the one who is behaving poorly, not I. I definitely still have my moments of heartache and rage, but they are becoming less frequent. I wish that type of healing for all of you and thank you, and Sheri, for the strength that you all offer here on this discussion board.

    Wishing you all peace and joy,
    Lisa R.

    1. effie

      Lisa, I am around 9 years, with my daughter. I still have horrible heartbreak, It is too hard to talk about today, and even with ways to fight this as stated in many posts, today I just can’t. Years gone ….. Some days are easy, some days not . Today my pain is a 10. I am a ruminator by nature, and always trying to fix this, till I am sick and not sleeping. I tend to be OCD and ruminating is part of that. I pray someday the tapes will stop, I can’t bring her back. I am least today…

    2. Carrie S

      Good evening all
      2 and one half years ago my daughter met a young man after a devastating breakup. Before that we were always close. Although I didn’t agree with many of her decisions regarding school and work I tried to remain supportive.
      She’s now living with her boyfriend whom I still haven’t met for 2 and one half years. I have invited them on numerous occasions to dinner and lunch and family gatherings. Sometimes she doesn’t even bother to reply.
      This was all making me sad and depressed so about a month ago I stopped asking her to get together and started reading relevant material about this awful situation.
      I also have a son who I can feel is becoming more and more distant from me.
      Wishing us all comfort and peace

  6. Lynne B.

    I had an inseparable relationship with my son. We did everything together. He was close with my husband and daughter too. My mother (definitely the matriarch of our family) passed away 11 yrs ago. He was her first grandchild and they were connected at the hip. My son was an athlete and experimented with steroids in college and that began the mental altered state. Later he opened his business that was extremely stressful and caused many 15-16 hour days which over time made him Adderall dependent then Adderall abusive. He became a poster child for Narcissism and now unrecognizable physically and emotionally. We’ve gone through a roller coaster on again/off again (usually on when we had to financially or physically help him with major issues). He is 38 now and expecting my first grandson. As things escalated over the years.. now he’s gone…only 15 min away but gone. I have a roomful of things for the baby due in Dec but neither he or his fiance will respond to me, my husband or my daughter. We are all crushed and I can’t socialize or do anything other than dive into my work. I don’t even know how to get them the baby’s things…and I did that for the baby Not them. My husband keeps it all in. I feel like I’m losing my mind. Thos was the last thing I ever envisioned. I journal most every night to attempt to save my sanity. Writing is my only outet….my last excerpt was:
    So strange to be estranged 
    Life passed us by and it’s the not knowing why that hurts the most
    I look for you each day but you’re not there
    I cant help but look at others and feel it’s just not fair
    Tomorrow will come sooner than we think
    You’ll look for me and your heart, like mine, will sink
    I dreamed of a lifetime with you
    But God had other plans
    I’ll never know the answer 
    I miss your eyes, your smile, our laughter 
    I’ve accepted it’s out of my hands 
    It’s just so strange to be estranged. 

    1. Jan K

      Dear Lynne, I can very much identify with your story. My son (only child) was such an amazing person, he was an adorable baby and always smiling, a well behaved child (no tantrums), perfect teenager (kept his room tidy, always respectful to us and fun to be with). We paid for his private education and gave him a monthly allowance when he went to university, where he graduated with a first with honours and bought his first property at 24 (which we helped with the deposit). He got a job in banking and by the time he was 34 he was earning about 230k a year. I found out around this time he was using cocaine but I never said much about it. I felt (a) it was his business, and (b) he’s always been so stable so I hoped he would only indulge in a sensible way (banking has a cocaine culture and I used to know someone who was a director of a major company who used it regularly and was totally in control of his usage so I assumed my son would be the same). My son seemed fine at that time and was then transferred to New York (we live in London U.K.) by the bank and he was there for four years during which time he became a different person. In June 2021 he called us and said he was coming home for a holiday and that he was essentially going to jack in his job due to reasons I won’t go into here (but some of them I retrospectively think are part of his delusional thinking). He couldn’t go back to his own property in London as there were tenants in situ, so he came to us. It turned out the ‘holiday’ was permanent, he was not going back to the US and had literally left all his furniture, clothes and expensive jewellery there. He was a changed person, bossed my husband and I about in our own home and was so negative and hostile, the total opposite of the gentle, witty, handsome, hugely popular person of a few years ago. We both WFH and this became really difficult with all his goings on. He seems to now really dislike me intensely bordering on hatred. (There’s a long story here which I won’t go into as it would mean copious writing.) He eventually got his tenants out and moved back to his own property. He sent me these horrendous texts (I was an evil malevolent demon, I lied to him all time – I’ve never lied to him once in my life) and some of the things he was thinking up were just crazy (he was like a god, had special powers and he was going to destroy all the banks by December 2022 which he later postponed to a later date (his words, although I assume his ‘special powers’ didn’t work according to plan). He even said he had the power to get rid of me – it was shocking hearing all this. It turns out that drugs have done this to him so I assume the cocaine. He is also 38 and we haven’t seen or heard from him since May 2023. My husband was so hurt he never sent him a birthday card or a Father’s Day card. We still sent him a birthday card but heard nothing from him. We have decided not to contact him now as he doesn’t seem to have any love for us whatsoever especially me, and I’m a little uneasy about him coming here. When he came here in May he stayed for two hours and shouted at me and stormed out (he’s never shouted at me and I’ve never ever heard him swear once in his whole life until that day). I am heartbroken, I literally adored him all his life, we were like best friends, he would send me flowers and cards saying what a wonderful mother I have been. I cried for three months and my husband and I could not sleep – our son is gone and is no longer recognisable to us. Right now he has no real job as far as I am aware and I think he would be unemployable in his current state of mind. He has been living off the sale of his second property and other substantial monies which I understand is nearing its end. One thing for sure we will not be supporting him financially when he runs out of money. I think of him every day but I’ve sort of accepted he is gone and will never be the person he once was. I’ve always loved our home, we had such a lovely little normal happy family but now it seems the memories have been very much tarnished.

      1. Angela

        Please see if there is a Nar-anon group in the UK. It seriously saved my life in regard to my son’s drug use. You are not alone and his actions are the result of his addiction , not your or your husbands parenting. God bless you.

    2. effie

      I understand, my daughter is 10 minutes away, and two toddlers. Refuses to tell me what I did. I have seen them once. I wake up hurting, fall asleep hurting, and feel unable to cope some days but keep moving. There has to be something wrong with me that I can’t let her go, but I am too tired to work on myself..sad isn’t it?

    3. Laz M

      Lynne, your writing has really touched a nerve and brought me to tears.
      I’m a month and a bit into radio silence from my only child. He is 21, dropped out of Uni (lied about it to us for ages), walked out of a job – has a new boyfriend who is seems he is living with. He is not working but cleaning, cooking and hiding away because he has alot of debt that he won’t face up to. We have given him a good life, paid for his flat when he was meant to be in Uni and and and……
      He will not even read my messages never mind respond.
      But I miss him, his voice, his smile, our chats, his big hugs!
      I am so lost and cry and cry and then angry because I don’t know why – WHY??
      Do I try to contact the boyfriend? Do I send all the bills that arrive at my home?
      Do I keep messaging to say I love you and am here if you need?
      I find some days just sitting and crying and the days go and I have accomplished nothing!
      I am angry that my beautiful boy can be so cruel and hurtful!
      I’m feel sick to my stomach, I don’t sleep – my husband compartmentmentaliases and we just don’t talk about my boy.
      I am just broken, hurt and angry

  7. Barbara

    Thank you everyone for. your replies. It helps so much to know that I’m not the only one dealing with anger. And today, I’m very angry about the situation we’re in.
    Our 25-year old daughter is estranged from my husband and me, and has little to no contact with her extended family as well. She communicates via Snap with our DIL but has been progressively communicating less with her brother. All of this is the result of a cannabis-induced psychosis she had in Mariah, 2021. Before that we had an intact, happy family! For anyone who is unaware of this – yes, the use of highly potent cannabis vape pens can result in a psychotic break, with delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Thousands of parents across the country are trying to deal with this with their teenagers and young adults. Long story short, she seems to be fine now, but has a fixed delusion that has resulted in her wanting to be estranged from us. She lives 830 miles from us, works full-time and lives with a young man who seems to be okay.
    I am angry about my own estrangement from her but mostly angry when I see how much she has hurt her dad and older brother! Both of them are so broken-hearted about this and when I see them feeling so sad I’m just enraged with her!
    I’m so sick of this. I know many of you have been dealing with estrangement for a decade or more and I don’t know how you do it.
    Prayers for all of you.

    1. Lynn

      Hi there. I’m dealing with this very situation. Cannibus and delusions we abused him and everyone is out to get him. No contact for 3 years now. He’s not 10 min from us. He has only restricted visitation with his daughter now and is such a loner. Totally isolated and a totally different person.
      I’m still in shock and keep trying to figure out how and why and when it all happened. He was such a smart, witty, caring person. And now… who knows who he is. Carries on with such nonsense about his upbringing being totally opposite of reality. Here trying to learn more from others experiences.

  8. rattlesnake

    This article was so spot on. My estrangement with my ES has been going on since 2018 with a few brief spots of speaking on the phone (earlier on, not recently) or emailing throughout this time. As I try to navigate through all that has happened that has taken me from a very close relationship with my son prior to 2018, to now where there is no relationship, I have reflected a lot and concluded a few things. It would seem on the surface, so easy to blame this whole thing on his wife, whom admittedly I can’t stand. But I can clearly state that I blame my ES for what he has done, not her.

    And people love to draw conclusions and so often if a MIL can’t stand their DIL, many on the outside will say the MIL is the one with the problem, jealousy, nobody is good enough for my “baby” etc. etc. But at least in my case I feel I have proof that is NOT the case. I got along great with his first wife, and get along great with her now. I consider her child with her new husband to be an additional grandchild.

    Current DIL came into my son’s life when his kids were 7 and 9 and I witnessed her being abusive to them. When it became necessary, yes I intervened and to this day of course my son and his now wife never admit they did anything wrong. Instead of ever acknowledging the real reasons for some of my interventions with how the kids were being treated, my son has turned this into a mission of him claiming my only goal was to break them up/ruin his marriage. He also says I am a blackmailer. He used that ugly word yet again in the email I read just this morning (and I knew he would because he always does).

    Some things have been happening lately that have made me reflect on “is there any way on earth to try to resume communications with him at least on a very minimal level where we can call or ask about arrangements involving his children, whom I remain close to through all this time and he knows it?” So after days of reflection and many emails started, revised, deleted, I saw the pattern in myself. I’d start out nice with the email stating what I stated above, let’s move past this and at least communicate for the sake of specifics with the kids.

    But then the anger would take over and I’d add sentences about the horrible things the two of them have done, with one of the most recent things being on Memorial Day. My granddaughter (age 13 now) texted me how much she hates it over there, they were blaming her for losing things and making her do all the laundry (which includes laundry for 3 foster kids). But I know my granddaughter too and in spite of EVERYTHING, I do not automatically assume she did nothing wrong. It could be a typical 13 year old not wanting to do chores. But with the ugly history, I also assume there might be more to this than a 13 year old not wanting to do chores. So not knowing details, I did not take a stance. I was driving when she wrote the text and so I quickly said I will respond later because I’m driving. And I guess she jumped to the idea I was driving to her dad’s and asked “Where? To Dad’s? I did respond back “No” even though I was still driving. When I got home, I responsed with a message saying “I’m sorry you are feeling bad” and I said “I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to come there.” And I heard nothing back UNTIL…..

    Step mother had grabbed her phone (she told me later) and didn’t like what she saw and the two of them got on the war path and my ES wrote to me from GD’s PHONE how horrible I am for supporting her being a lazy brat and offering to come and get her! I was SO ANGRY after reading that. So angry and I still am.

    But I recognized that anger and also recognized that I will most certainly not get him to do what I asked (minimal communications) if that anger is showing up in the email with the specifics of that latest incident. So I carefully crafted the email and even said I had a goal of letting go of the anger and moving past it all. I had a talk with myself, giving myself the advice I would give others. “Do not send this unless you are prepared for yet another negative bashing response, or no response.” Do not have expectations. I did my best, but his ugly response still gets to me, of course. He completely ignored my request, saying that it is not possible since my only goal is to break up his marraige, blackmail him, and get “her” out of his kids’ lives. And yet I know the only goal I had was to open minimal communications for the sake of his children. A combination of sadness/anger/heartbreak is so much to deal with, really.

    1. rparents Post author

      rattlesnake, What a self-reflection note you”ve written… and the scenario fully illustrates how anger is a natural response to such excruciatingly over-the-top behavior. You kept yourself in order and then he escalated anyway. Ugh. Your behavior was wise! Yes, it is a lot to deal with.

      Hugs to you,
      Others will relate to your situation and feel less alone.

      Sheri McGregor

  9. Carol

    My husband and I have 4 adult children. We have had trouble with the youngest 2. My son (26) and youngest daughter (29) got into a fight at my home December 2020. Both got arrested. I feel my daughter (who came to my home and started the fight with him) has blamed me for this incidence ever since. My son has had anger issues since he was about 18. We have had an on again off again relationship ever since he completely changed when he started dating and living with a girlfriend (in 2016). This daughter got upset March 2022 when she heard my son in my home and said she didn’t consider me her mother anymore. She didn’t speak to me til we took her and her fiancé out to dinner in Sep 2022. Fast forward, I was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer in Feb 2023. She went to every appointment with me but when I texted (end of April) her, my husband, and other 2 daughters that I was overwhelmed with their conflicting thoughts/direction, and ultimately the decision on what hospital and doctor to go to were mine, she said she didn’t want to be involved anymore and to take my other 2 daughters. I tried to explain my position several times, and she kept texting me she no longer wanted to be involved. She had an October 2023 wedding planned. She texted my husband on June 14 she was getting married on June 24. We weren’t invited. She never tried to make amends. But she did send an invite to her October “wedding”. We will not attend. All of this has broken our hearts. I am half way through chemo, need a mastectomy, radiation and reconstructive surgery. This is a long journey. I, like others here, still wonder why? Why does she hate me? I have finally learned to put myself first. It saddens me that it took a cancer diagnosis to do it. I pray for peace for all of us.

    1. Jennifer

      Hi Carol. Thank you for sharing your touching and heartbreaking story. I’m glad that you decided to move forward and consider yourself first. Also, Sherri thank you for writing such a helpful article. Everything you wrote is correct. I’m afraid I have to shamefully admit that I did exactly what you said a parent shouldn’t; I sent a terrible text to my children telling them as a result of their behavior I was checking out as their mother; I was angry, resentful and hurt. My children are 29 and twins who are 27 and they are the product of a divorce from their narcissistic father and his on-going, continuing campaign to alienate me from them. He has been remarkably successful; after my daughter testifying against me on a custody battle when she was 12, my son not inviting to an award ceremony for a national honor he received at the age of 18, and finally the most recent event about which my nephew (brother’s child) invited my abusive ex-husband and my children to his wedding, but not me or my husband. They did this despite my brother and his wife joining my ex husband’s tribe to abuse and collaborate with my ex to alienate me from my kids. I forgave my children for the many issues when they were young that they were tasked to do by their father, but they are grown adults now and not one of them questioned my nephew or brother about me not being invited to the wedding, despite my brother and nephew being invited to all three of my children’s weddings. Unfortunately, I did what Sherri just counseled against; I reacted when I was angry and sent an angry text message checking out as their mother. I have since apologized over four times, but that has done little to repair the damage I’ve done. To make matters worse, this text message has allowed them to completely ignore what they did wrong. They have forwarded my message to everyone, which only solidified my ex’s “tribe” who continue to vilify me; I just handed them the mother-load of confirmation about their position. However, while I regret sending this message, my motivation to continue in a relationship with them is at an all-time low. They see the problems which are a result of their father’s alienation campaign against me as “my problem.” After 25 years of this treatment, I’m tired of the hurt and their refusal to see how hurtful their actions are. It has become a one-way relationship with no real upside to continuing a relationship. So, Carol, I understand your hurt surrounding not being invited to your daughters wedding, but I urge you to take Sherri’s advice and not get to a point when you explode like I did in a fit of rage. It is better, in my humble opinion, to stop the relationship before they commit the final “event” (whatever it is) that sends you to the dark and hurtful place I was when I sent that text message. You all have friends like me sharing your pain and sending virtual hugs. I sincerely pray for peace of mind with all of you.

  10. Maxie

    Thank you Sherrie. At first I was angry, like “what! She can’t do that ! “ And I totally didn’t understand why.
    It was a nearly a year before she contacted me. I had stopped contacting her, her fiancé and her friends and following social media. She indicated she would contact me when “ready”. When she called, it turned out it was to tell me about an upcoming event in her life. Apparently not to talk about “the letter”. I approached the subject with her and she said “we can talk about that, too. We didn’t talk about that much. I have offered a getaway together, phone convo, letter but nothing has been forthcoming. I need to know the “why” and to talk it out. It’s been 2-1/2 yrs now since I’ve seen her. It especially stings when I see Instagram pictures of her visit to the city 45 mi from me, without a word.
    She gets around actually saying “ I love you” and “I miss you, too” . Instead I get a couple of words and Emojis.
    I thought it was possible to make things better after some real communication. BUT I have this uncomfortableness hanging over me and I have no control over this big part of my life. I quit looking at her social media, texting and calling a couple of wks ago. I think it’s important to take my life back. She has the in-laws-to-be right near her. Not wanting to seem like a needy victim, or Passive/Aggressive – I just can’t deal with these unsolved emotions. I feel like both of us will be more free if we just let it go. At least that’s how I feel now.
    I got Excema first time ever the month after her letter arrived and all the emotional/mental toll. I lost 10 pounds I didn’t intend to (I now wright 110). I should be retired I work full time. I need to find my peace ❤️

  11. Merri

    Hullo all you beautiful people who like me are ‘Rejected Parents’. My rejecting daughter is 43. She has caused me great pain for 2 decades. Warning note- I got every disease outlined by Sheri that the pain and stress can cause and in my 70th year I battle all of them. One technique that I have used to help in the last couple of years is this saying to myself to her is; ‘Please forgive me for any hurt or pain I have caused you consciously or unconsciously. I forgive you for the same. But the past is the past and it’s over. Our karmic account is settled. I send you nothing but love and blessings.’ Everytime I have my ‘anger/rage’ thoughts about the unfairness of her cold and cruel behaviour, I turn them round with ‘I send you nothing but love and blessings’. Because you know what? I feel so sorry for her that she deprives herself of a good and loving mother. And I know my anger and pain only hurts me.But/and this year prior to my BD rather than be crushed by her cold no love birthday text (Happy Birthday’ (all to relieve her own conscience and social standing) I blocked her. So good not to worry about the spear through the heart this year. She is a highly successful person. I was a really good mum. I have begged to be told what I have done wrong but never given an answer. Yes, we just have to move on. For what it’s worth, I send much love to all of you. May you find peace and joy.

    1. Heather P.

      I appreciate the sharing of the situations so many of you are going through with your adult children. It helps to know I am not alone. I became estranged from my oldest son around the time he was 16 because he kept bringing drugs into the home. At that time, I was also going through a separation from my husband, and we ultimately divorced. The drugs continued to where I asked him to leave at the age of 16 and go to live with my ex-husband, his father. Over the years, I tried to have a relationship with him. Each time, his drug use was brought into my home and family. In 2017, when another of my children was arrested for trafficking drugs with him, I decided I had enough, and I am at peace with that decision.

      The difficulty has come in with the other three children. My next child, a son, ended up excluding me from his wedding because I was upset about not being informed and learned elsewhere that my oldest would be in the wedding. The drug charges in 2017 almost cost my son his license as an occupational therapist. I was shocked that he was “thick as thieves” with my oldest. Have any of you experienced something like this?

      I have been reading Sheri’s articles and can appreciate the phases a parent goes through when rejected. While I don’t wish this kind of situation on anyone, I do appreciate that there are others of you sharing your situation and how you are handling it. I’ve also been surprised to learn that other parents have reacted the same way I did. I moved to another state. I am working on finding that peace and joy, but I think I am still in the acceptance phase.

      Sheri’s articles have resonated with me because I don’t think I can get past not being included in the wedding. The lack of trust is too great and I don’t want to be hurt again. Great job being able to move on, Merri. I hope to find some of your courage.

      Thanks and best wishes for comfort and peace for all of you.

    2. Mary

      Like you I have suffered physically from the estrangement of my only child, my ED is 45 now and I have been cut off for almost 8 yrs now. I too feel sorry for her, she has lost someone in her life that loved her unconditionally. In saying that, I also have come to terms with all that she has said and done to try and hurt/destroy me. I can’t see the future but at this point in time, I wish her nothing but peace, health and happiness, but I no longer wish her in my life. Trust is gone, respect is gone, without these things I could not have a relationship with her. I am not interested in “why” anymore, it is irrelevant to me to hear only her version of how she felt wronged in life.
      Hugs to all the parents that have to endure this.

    3. Dionne S.

      Merri, I have read and practice the same…I wish you good health and happiness. I have forgiven what unbelievable shocking acts that were done to me but will never forget and never put myself in the position to be treated with cruelty again. Life is just a series of,lessons, with moments of happiness and joy sprinkled in. I surround myself with the few people who want to be around me and appreciate me. A few is enough and pets count too. I am finally finding closure and hard earned peace. Blessings to all on this amazing, supportive site.

      1. Kathie L

        Dear Dionne, would you be willing to share how you learned to forgive? It’s been 10 yrs, since I’ve seen or heard from my youngest adult estranged son and 2 of his children, I have been able to forgive my son. I have a very hard time forgiving my DIL. I do blame her for the estrangement. Sometimes I feel that I don’t want to forgive her, she has ripped apart our family. I know this anger is only hurting me, so I would love to be rid of it.

  12. Leslie

    Boy this article for sure hits home.
    As a single mom of a 26 yr old son, after at least 10 years of back and forth fighting, disrespect and not speaking, how does one not get angry out of pure frustration? I can say that I’m purely exhausted. I think he has blamed everything he possibly can on me, and what a horrible Mom I was – despite giving it my all. I’m beyond done, the boundaries just don’t work. Unfortunately, we are all back together under the same roof (because of personal challenges) and struggling to make it through each day. We don’t speak, we avoid and just about hate one another. All I can hope for is that he’s able to move out soon. I know that if we weren’t living together, we wouldn’t be talking to each other and most likely estranged again (we already were once before).
    I’m so disappointed, this is not the son I raised.
    I’d love any suggestions on how to cope through another trying time, while living in the same house.

    1. Jay

      Hi Leslie. Is your son working? If so, he can find his own house or flat. Yup, pack everything up, put it outside the front door and have the locks changed. Your home is not a Hotel.
      This won’t be easy; he either gets very angry, or will be very cold and unemotional. But, if he’s able to look after himself, let him do it. He’s 26 years old and not a boy anymore. (and, as I told someone else on here, not your responsibility anymore).

      You can’t go on like this Leslie.

      As for the part that you’re disappointed, I think that all of us on here are feeling the same way.

      I still love my son, but from a distance. I no longer want contact I think.
      I hope you’ll get strength from reading the other comments on here; you’re not the only one.
      Be strong now and you’ll get through it.

      All the best.

      1. Maxie

        You can love from a distance. Sounds like he needs your enabling more than he needs your love. It’s like their brains have been possessed !

    2. Diane H.

      Don’t buy into the hostility and anger. Be very mindful and display a changed attitude where you display disinterest in fighting or much about him at all. Focus on yourself and model self care every day. In other words, fake it till you make it. Start singing in the kitchen, find things to laugh about even if it’s just in your own head, be kind in your responses but ignore rudness, turn your back and make yourself move on. You might as well. All any of us can do is change our own attitudes and outlook. It’s a win for your son if you allow him to dicate your mood and bring you down.
      I feel down today, so I’m planning to go out and take myself walking up a track that is through native bush with a fabulous view from the top. What will you do??

  13. Sharon

    This article really resonates with me. I have a son that is 27 who I haven’t seen for six months (and rarely the 7 years before that). The last time I saw him he took my car and refused to give it back. He rings and leaves nasty voicemails occassionally (I have given up answering his calls because he just abuses me on the phone). I have a 30 yr old daughter who I have a semi relationship with, that is, as long as I do what she wants, she talks to me, otherwise I get shunned for a certain amount of time until I apologise or she thinks I have been punished enough. I am angry because why should I take this behaviour from them just because I am their mother, I really do think our children are now growing up with so much self entitlement that they think they have the right to do this to their parents. Family relationships are a two way street and I fear I will eventually be the one to enstrange permanently from my adult children for my own happiness and health. My partner feels this way too, so sad.

    1. Jay

      Hi Sharon, You could block his number so he can’t send you abusive messages anymore.
      You don’t have to put up with that kind of behaviour, not from him or your daughter.
      I think it’s their own frustrations they’re punishing you for and that’s not fair.

      Breaking away from your estranged adult children isn’t easy, but it can be done.
      Maybe it’s time to start thinking about yourself instead of them. Go on that trip, buy yourself something nice. Whatever makes you happy, do it.

      All the best,

    2. Angela

      We share a lot in common and my heart breaks for you. For me , there came a point , where for self preservation , I had no level of expectation from any of my children. My 24 year old daughter, though not estranged completely , withholds her love , texts and phone calls when she feels I should be punished. Usually because she wants more money for things she can well afford. I’ve helped considerably , and don’t deserve to be in this yo-yo relationship. My son is addicted to weed and smokes and vapes excessively. I’m convinced he has lost his mind with paranoia and events of things that never happened. My oldest son, was alienated from me at the age of 13 when we divorced. In fact , my now 29 year old son has not spoken to me or my entire family , grandparents included for 16 years. I’ve made numerous attempts to reconcile , but to no avail. No person deserves this when truly the home was loving and supportive. I’ve thought , it has to be me. I had felt such shame. However , I know in my heart , that I was a very good Mom , not perfect , but who is ? Anyway, we must. Think of ourselves , as we age , and realize we deserve better. I will not grovel for a relationship with anyone, or apologize for things that I didn’t do. I wouldn’t accept this treatment from anyone else , and have to maintain some dignity.

  14. David

    Sheri, your book Beyond Done with the Crying has been very helpful. Seeing several cases similar to mine, of 2 daughters who have estranged me with very little explanation – and having to learn to accept this, and move on. As you allude to, the pain still does not go away. I only once got very angry, and that was over the phone with their mother, my ex-wife, who refused to intercede on my behalf. (And the passage of time has made it more clear how our divorce and her feelings provided a safe space, wherein my girls could afford to push me out of their lives.) I yelled at her for 10 minutes, pleading to do something to help me and she refused.
    Since then, I’ve kept the anger bottled up, even in the rare contacts I’ve had with my daughters. What good would shouting do, or recriminating, but just push them further away? But while the anger has largely subsided after three years, the pain has not gone away. It keeps me up at night, and if not for melatonin I would never have a good night of sleep. Fantasies about confrontations, and saying just the right thing to bring them back, go through my mind. I am finally past the stage where I wish harm on my son-in-law, who stole one daughter away from me.
    I have largely given up on this girl, but still have hopes for the other one. Many nights I go to bed praying, “Lord, please bring my sweet daughter back to me,” over and over.
    It cannot hurt to say these prayers, and it may actually help.
    My new wife refuses to indulge my feelings more than just a minute or so. She does not know my girls, so it is not personal for her. I have chosen to accept her unconcern as a gift. She is showing me a way to move on without them. She keeps me busy with Honey Do lists and has her own problems. She is from Odessa, Ukraine, and very worried about her son and brother still back there with almost daily air attacks by the Russians. Her problems make mine look small. I can wait just as she must do. I can deal with the pain, and keep saying my prayers, and with time I will sleep better. But it will take time.

  15. Jay

    We’ve been through it all. All stages of “mourning” although he’s not dead. Nope, not dead at all; has a girlfriend, a baby and his inlaws. So we’re no longer needed. We fought and fought hard to see our grandchild, but lost the battle. He loves his inlaws a lot more than us, so after a couple of nasty emails we just stopped.
    But…(and I want to tell all of these deeply hurt people on here) It can free you up as well. In letting go of your adult child you’re NO LONGER responsible for him/her. Let that sink in. In letting go of your adult child who has hurt you so much, you can START ANEW. You can move to somewhere new, (which is what we’re planning to do). You no longer have to spend money on presents and time waiting for them to show up.
    You can leave money in your will to anyone you like. You can clean out the garage and get rid of all their stuff.
    When people ask, we say that he “has a life of his own now” and they can make whatever they want from that.
    My advice is: After all the crying, the anger, the disappointment, hurt feelings and self blame, let it go. FREE yourself of them.
    My heart goes out to all of you.

    1. Jan K

      Dear Jay, What you say makes so much sense, letting go and starting anew is such wise advice. When I read many of the comments from rejected parents here where they apologise (for what?) and wait for a scrap of affection or a text on Mother’s Day sometimes year in and year out…it’s just self-torture really. I thought I was so close to my once happy, cheerful, loving son (many moons ago) but your comment “waiting for them to show up” reminds me that our son managed to show up for Sunday lunch once every three months (at our invitation). I would deliberately time the meal so it would be ready later in the day as he was always at least three hours late and then would invariably only stay for two or three hours at the most and often spending some of that time texting friends. The last time he visited for Sunday lunch was the end of May 2023, he wasn’t very pleasant to me and then left after two hours. I cried when he left and was down for several days afterwards. I’m now at the stage of 90% of me wanting to let go and start anew. My husband feels the same. We are not contacting him anymore…the ball is in his court now.

      1. Jay

        Dear Jan, we went through much of the same. Begging him to come over, when they arrived they were on the phone to their friends. Didn’t want MY lunch, but I saw them going into town to have lunch there.(I ended up with a fridge full of food which took us weeks to eat). And that happened quite a few times.No time for us at Christmas, but did go to the inlaws. No time for any important days either, not for us anyway. We didn’t see them for months on end.
        To make a long story short, they don’t want us.

        We’re not waiting for him to make the first steps. We’re not waiting at all anymore. And since we’re not waiting, we can plan. We’re planning to enjoy the rest of our lives. We’ll travel, we’re planning to move.
        Not having to wait for that email or phone call makes life a lot less stressfull.
        Not having the fear that when he comes we’ll be critiqued for everything we do or say.
        Not having to fear that when he comes he’ll start shouting and leaving me in tears.

        I think that many parents try so hard to reconcile because they think it will leave a void in their life, or that they were bad parents or such. And at first it does, you feel that there is a void. And at first you do think “Where have we gone wrong with this child”. I can tell you, you probably have done nothing wrong.
        After a while you start filling that void with other things. There are many charities that all need help. There are interesting hobbies to persue. There are new friendships to be made.

        Life isn’t over when your adult child shuns you. You’re no less a person, you were a good person, you were a good parent. You still have qualities to share with this world.

        So my advice is to all the hurt people on here: Don’t mourn the loss for too long. Live your life.

        Hugs to all.

    2. Patricia H.

      Thank you for your words. I know it is true…..that if i could just let go I’d be better off, but I am definitely not there yet. I have 3 adult daughters, one of whom has estranged from us, zero contact. The reason is because we could no longer ignore her abusive words and actions, nor tolerate her boyfriend. He disrespected me on every level although I was always kind, he was lazy, never even so much as taking out their garbage. He joked about being a school shooter, calls my daughter names,etc. When we tried to set boundaries she screamed and sometimes got physical. Finally in February, she moved to Ohio with him and they got married. She doesn’t have contact with her twin sis or older sis, who both stay with me currently.
      In the daytime I am fine. At night, I am haunted. The last time my daughter and I spoke was Nov. 2022. I miss her so much the grief washes over me at times like a tsunami. I believe she has undiagnosed issues and anger problems. I tried to get her to attend counseling with me last year but she refused. I struggle to make sense of the fact that she is willing to throw her entire family away for a toxic relationship. I don’t miss the awful abuse, and try to take comfort in that. I believe one reason it’s so hard to let go is because I have mostly always been a single mom….dad is just deadbeat, absent, self absorbed. All we had was each other. My kids were my everything. Thank you again for posting and for your kind words. It really does help to not feel alone.

      1. Maxie

        Dear Patricia,
        I am also a single mom whose husband was more than a little absent.
        Adults make their own choices in America. One day if your daughter and grandchild survive being abused and controlled, you will be the first one she tries to find. It hurts but does it hurt as much as being a punching bag?
        You are important. Don’t let life pass you by

      2. Barbara

        Hi Patricia,
        Your description of how grief washes over you like a tsunami is so spot-on for me as well. Some days are so hard and the grief so raw.
        Our 25-year old daughter had a cannabis-induced psychosis in March 2021 and became estranged from her dad, then me and recently her older brother as well. She’s thrown away her entire extended family also, despite all our efforts to remain connected with her. Nothing could have prepared any of us for this. I’m just blown away.
        Blessings to you and your other two daughters. I hope you can take comfort in your relationships with them! We remain close to our son and his wife. They are suffering as well through this.

        1. Susan L.

          Barbara, our daughter has cut us out of her life TWICE in the past 20 years, First time lasted 5 years, now this time is about 2 years. She was divorced from a man who was a POT smoker and now she is married to a nice man, who is afraid of her. She smokes marijuana every day, all day. She is educated and has a good job. And they have our only grandchild, who is now 4 years old and will never know us. I am depressed, but finally realize we will never see or hear from her again. She also has cut her sister out of their lives. I have been thru every emotion possible with this estrangement. My husband refuses to talk about it and only states “It is her loss”. I pray every day that she is well, but there is nothing else I can do. I’ve written and sent gifts and cards. No response, other than “leave me alone”. Broken hearts here, but I am finally accepting it.

    3. Julsburd

      We have done the same thing Jay. Even though the heartache will never go away we feel liberated from all of the “well meaning grandparenting duties ” we see our friends going through. We sold our home and are moving to a new state, Florida where we plan to find a home on a golf course and live the remaining years of our lives without our sons but at least not pining away for them. We can go where we want on holidays, travel where we want rather than schedule road trips visiting various grandchildren around the country and spend time with people who actually like having us around (vs. just tolerating us because we are their parents). Don’t get me wrong, I have many moments of tears and sadness but I am working every day to move on from this and restart my life. Cheers Jay!

  16. Polly

    Through therapy I realized that my now estranged daughter saw my attempts to guide her and give her support as a vicious tiger chasing her. My mother was a fun gal, but wholly lacking in guidance and expressing love. I thought I would change that with my daughter, but my daughter has her own mental health issues, and I was blind to them for many years. When she could no longer accept any input from me (even when she asked for input!), I became a toxic gaslighter in her eyes.

    I am now pretty much at peace with not having her in my life. It was just too painful. I experience this as something called “ambiguous loss”, so it is hard to completely resolve. Am I angry at times? Am I sad? Oh, definitely. But I’m trying to stay in the moment and not mourn the past or dream of a better future with her in my life. It isn’t helpful. Be here now.

    Thank you, Sheri. Your words always land clearly and thoughtfully for me. You are a beacon.

    1. Patricia H.

      Amy, your comment resonates strongly. I, too, have twin daughters. One is completely estranged, the other stays with me temporarily. I endured several years of emotional and verbal abuse from the time they were 17 until last year, when they turned 21. It would be over something mundane like asking them to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. They would scream obscenities and insult me in the nastiest way. The one who is estranged had an eating disorder and nearly died when she was 15-16. I was there for her through it all, the hospital stays and counseling. She moved out of state with her toxic bf and married him in Feb. She doesn’t have contact with me, her twin, or older sister. The other twin woke up for the most part but became seriously depressed over a guy she barely knew and had a brief hospital stay wher she actually got diagnosed with BPD. This has helped me understand her behavior and forgive what came before. She is now engaged to a wonderful young man who is deployed with the Army. He returns in Dec. and they will marry. Though me and her have a much improved relationship, I will tell you, I still have to walk on eggshells and mind her moods. But at least we all know what she is dealing with. It’s complicated, the twin relationship with each other, with parents, and with other siblings. Add mental health issues to the mix and it’s a nightmare. I sympathize with your situation. I have been through hell with my kids. Either worrying that they would hurt me or take their own life……the anger and sadness….the feelings of failure or incompetency….I completely get it. Hugs and support to you, God bless you and your daughters.

    2. Maxie

      I hear that. Don’t we try to be what our parents weren’t for us? But we don’t know what they want and I didn’t go to single parents school. I just tried and failed in her eyes. My parents were far from perfect and really didn’t know how to show their love literally. I grew up recoiling when someone wanted to hugg me. Sad!
      But I wanted them to be in this world and in my sphere with me.
      We can only attempt to control ourselves. Do you. You deserve to be happy. We both do.

  17. Annemarie

    Yes. I do have moments of anger towards my ED and DIL. I have kicked a chair, thrown a book etc…I do not live there. I am honestly mostly happy and at peace with my life. I forgive what they are doing but I think you are spot on Sheri. Controlled anger is justified. I get angry when I read of an elderly person getting mugged and beat up. Justified anger. That is horrific behavior. I feel the same way about adult children shunning or verbally abusing their parents. Horrific behavior. I’m honest with God. Tell Him how I feel. Feel His love and acceptance. Life is still good.

  18. Linda J.

    I was wondering if I was the only one who felt anger. So many articles I read say to apologize and do whatever it takes to reunite and see grandchildren, but I just can’t do it anymore. My son and his wife have made me go through hoops for ten years and I’m sick of it. Estrange, get back together, estrange again. The lies they tell about me, really make me mad. I will not beg anymore. What happened to them? It is more than mental illness, it is a cruel game. Did we raise such weak and delusional children? Can a spouse make them feel like they were raised wrong or can we not have an opinion that differs from theirs? He texts me at times and says how much he loves me, but how he can’t be around me. What is that crap? GAMES. My youngest son died last year and my oldest son went on and on about what a loser his brother was. He hadn’t spoken to his brother for ten years! Maybe we can go back to the spouse??? I cry and I hurt, I also had heart problems, but my anger is what gets me moving to self compassion. I just got our new Trust back today and I have eliminated my son and all will go to my two granddaughters he ripped from me. Of course, I plan on spending all of it if I can. My husband and I deserve to have fun. I am planning as many trips as I can and have given up being so frugal to leave him a legacy. My son that died was the sweetest and kindest young man and I miss him every single day. His older brother reunited with me just so he could look like the loving brother at the funeral then dumped me again. I have never felt such horrible pain. If someone can do that to their own mother at such a horrible time, then who needs them??? This certainly is not someone I want making my financial and medical decisions for me. My beautiful nephews have stepped up to the plate. Something is truly, truly wrong with these entitled cruel children.

    1. Patricia G

      I just want to say how very sorry I am that you have lost your loving son. It must be unbearably painful but I’d imagine made far worse by the vile cruelty of your other son. Well done on your decision to step away from the cycle of abuse. It’s what we had to do for our mental and physical welfare too. I wish you and your husband much joy spending your hard earned money on treats for yourselves! Big hugs.

    2. Maureen P.

      I agree! Something is definitely wrong with them. I’m tired of trying to figure it out though, that I can tell you! After going back and forth with my daughter for 10 years, of talking, not talking, etc. Finally about 2 years ago I said NO MORE! I said you’ve been trying to divorce me for 10 years now and I’m finally going to give you one! Just real hateful towards me every chance she could get. Meanwhile I’m bending over backwards for her and her family every step of the way. Just despicable! I’m finally at the point where my mind isn’t constantly focused on it. Just like so many others on here, I too still have no clue what her issues with me are. She won’t communicate . It’s like after all you’ve done for them, you’re not even worth an explanation. Just down right rotten. I have the best supportive husband anyone could ask for, and another daughter who loves me like a daughter should. So I consider myself blessed and an finally moving forward. She had put me through the ringer so many times, that now at this point I don’t think I will ever reconcile with her. I’ve been hurt to the point of no return. I wish this for all of you who are still suffering. That you can move on and be happy with what life we have left. Stop letting it weigh you down. Like my husband said, he’s pretty sure they aren’t letting it eat them alive!

    3. Terie

      Hey Linda, I totally understand where you’re coming from…. First of all, I am truly sorry for the loss of your son.that right there Alone is extremely painful & My ♥ goes out to you! When I read all the parents that have gotten Angry Because of their situation being estranged from their child or children. With millennials Today, they are entitled, selfish, disrespectful, And extremely cruel. It’s been 16 years since I’ve seen my oldest son Nor will he speak to me. Everything was all good until, I co-signed on a car loan for him And he failed on his End of the bargain and the car got repo’de + I ended up paying for 2 accidents Out of my own pocket. Then I said that’s enough! Since then he has got married And I was not invited to the wedding …. That ripped my heart out like no other…. I tried all these years To reconcile and apologized till I was blue in the face. My middle daughter happens to be 35. And she has followed in her brother’s footsteps in estrangement Towards me As well. I helped my daughter Out by borrowing her money to put down on her home. And she paid me back But I think she was a little upset that she had to. I did give her a $1000 for a housewarming gift With no appreciation at all. That’s when things took a turn it time, I noticed her getting really cold and ugly towards me anf I’m wondering why? 1 day in the early Spring. It was a little icy out. I slipped and fell on her sidewalk and broke my wrist. My daughter Is an RN So I thought she would help me out. Not the case, I had to ask for an ice pack then I drove 2 hours back home. The coldness in her eyes and in her heart is what I don’t understand. As a Parent, I would go to the moon And back for all of my kids and help them out in any way Possible. The sad thing, me And their father divorced when they were 13 and 14 years of age I divorced him because of the emotional abuse and infidelity. The Truth was In the pudding when he married now my ex best friend. The kids refuse to know the truth, Instead, Their father has twisted so many lies against me I have no defense….. This angers me more than anything! That’s said; 4 years ago I bought a little house in a rural area 3 hours away Only because what was the point Of living near them if they were no longer in my life. Honestly, It’s the holidays that are the hardest, Mother’s Day…. I’m trying to turn things around for myself, It hasn’t been easy & I know there are many of you parents out there that can attest to it As well. I Have felt very alone during this situation with my 2 adult children. Nowhere to turn, people to understand, & not judge. I’m Trying to keep myself busy and get some sort of a Life With more optimism.

      1. Eeyore

        So sorry for your situation. My ex is also the one who has poisoned my only child against me. He is also my rapist and he is getting to help raise my grandchild whom I’ve never seen. You can’t make this up. What a twisted world.

    4. Jen

      Thank you so much for sharing this. When my daughter started dating a narcissist she would come to us with all the awful things he did and said. We didn’t tell her what to do, but we did encourage her the 3 times she went to break up with him. Then one day everything changed. Suddenly everything was our fault and the narcissist hd been wronged. Once I got through the trauma of her flipping the script on us, I thought I had to do everything in my power to keep a relationship with her. I apologized for things that I didn’t do – I even apologized to the narcissist! I felt guilty all the time. And then a few months ago I realized that while she was once a victim of gaslighting, she had become the gaslighter. I haven’t reached out since and she is now completely estranged. None of my friends understand and think I should still sacrifice and do anything to be in her life, especially now that she had a baby. But her denial and nastiness was not good for me. And it’s not good for her that I abased myself and agreed with her messed up narrative because all that did was reinforced that she was right and my husband and I were bad people. I’m so glad I found this group and I so appreciate someone reinforcing to me that I do NOT have to live my life walking on eggshells and I don’t have to continue to be in this toxic relationship. I cry all the time about it and it breaks my heart and makes me so angry at her husband for turning her against us and angry at her for allowing it to happen.

      1. Patricia H.

        Very similar situation. My daughter wanted to break up with the loser….she got tired of all he did and did not do. I thought, “thank God”. Then she withdrew herself and only came around when she needed something from me. He became the victim, and we the perpetrators. I think she formed an unhealthy attachment to him, because she had cried to me saying she didn’t know what she’d do without him. Fast forward a few months…she up and left state with him and they married. We have zero contact from her. He is a master manipulator and the two of them are playing victim. Your last sentence about being angry at him and then at her for letting it happen…..EXACTLY this. Thank you for sharing.

      2. Paul

        We have a similar situation with the genders reversed. My once sweet and compliant son married an extremely selfish and controlling woman from India. They settled in a state about 2,000 miles away and never came back to visit, although my son was always asking us to fly out there, which we did four times. They went on a dozen or more overseas vacations, including after their first child was born. I tried to ask him to come at least once but was told I was being passive/ aggressive, a term he had never used. Her parents moved all the way from India, bought a $ 1M+ house to be near their first grandson and within a few months my son and DIL moved 3 hours away. As she was pregnant with their second baby, her parents packed up and moved back. She had told her mom that she hated her and never wanted to see her again.
        Meanwhile my Costa Rican wife and I retired and moved to Costa Rica. My After the baby girl was born, my DIL convinced my son to quit his job and take care of both the kids. I went out to see them a week before moving and was treated like a four year old by the DIL. One evening I mentioned to my son that I’d love him to be able to come down and see us and spend some time with his father (me). His eyes perked up and he loved the idea. The next morning the first thing she said was “C___ was telling me what you all were planning. I don’t think that’s fair that HE should get to go to Costa Rica. It should be ME”. My son looked devastated but didn’t say a word.
        Fast forward to 15 months ago…. They came to visit. My son acted like a zombie, taking care of the kids every need while she sat and enjoyed the views, being waited on hand and foot by my son and wife and I. The first morning she decided to insult us both by telling us (like small children) that we were NOT to take our grandson outside the house if she or my son were not watching us. I tried to talk to my son afterward but he simply made excuses for her. A few days later when my son took the car without asking and immediately wrecked it by dropping it in a concrete ditch, I lost it. I almost immediately apologized and asked forgiveness. They left to a B&B and sent an email with a list of demands, essentially 20 times more demeaning than her original demand. My wife said “no” and I told them to have a nice trip back and sorry things didn’t work out.
        It took 14 months but my son emailed me with another list of demands. I told him I would talk to him but no more writing since that only gives her ammunition after analyzing every word. But he will not speak on the phone, so here we are. I’m sorry for the long note, but I needed to get that out, and best to a group of other parents who are going through similar hurt. And I also think this is a sickness that has infected so many of the entitled millennials generation. Prayers for you all.

        1. candleinthewind

          I would like to say that in allowing our children their right to live as they prefer as adults, rather than pushing them to do the right and honourable thing (i.e. loyalty to parent/s who reared and sacrificed for their well-being), we suffer lack of the love we need. I just won’t nag them into doing the right thing. I sometimes wish, as I do today, that I was more of a mean demanding bitch. Because continuing to find alternatives to a ‘normal’ family life is proving exhausting and something I can only manage some days, and not others, like today, when I sink into some kind of oblivion which some may uncompationately call self-pity. What do the seekers of right do? I suppose to answer my own question, it’s only right in my eyes, not theirs. The damage that’s been done to the relationship with such adult children equates to nil.

    5. Maxie

      Yes, that all resonates with me in one way or another. What I see repeated over and over again in these posts is ITS NEVER THE SAME AGAIN NO MATTER WHAT. How many years of our own lived should we live on hold?
      Please enjoy ALL your vacations
      You can buy yourself flowers

    6. IJW

      Thank you for sharing this. 8 years ago my ED got in a relationship with a narcissist. He gaslighted her over and over and she would “try” to break up with him but always went back. She told us so may about all the awful things about him and he wanted nothing to do with us from the start. Then one day, all of the sudden, ED decided that all the problems with our relationship with him were our fault. I was confused, upset and very angry. My ED has some mental health issues (that she now denies) so I have always done everything in my power to take responsibility for how angry I was and how I was unhappy when she married him – I’ve apologize over and over. Our relationship has been strained, painful, uncomfortable and fake ever since then. She ghosts us on and on for various periods of time as well. A few months ago I realized that 7 years ago, the day she flipped the script and made everything our fault, she began actually gaslighting us. She has not spoken to me in a year and texts with her dad occasionally. I made the painful decision that if she initiates contact with me for any reason other than apologizing to me, that I would not engage with her. I just can’t do it anymore. Our relationship is toxic and I have to let go. Some of my friends don’t understand and think I should still pursue her over and over again for a decent relationship. I can’t anymore. I’m still brokenhearted and angry but I feel some peace that I don’t have to play her game and be talked down to anymore.

  19. Eeyore

    I have been in the anger stage toward my 28 year old daughter for over a year now. I just let it simmer inside me instead of boiling over. Since 2019, she has secretly gotten married and had my one and only grandchild whom I have never seen. At this point I’m not sure an attempted reconciliation would go well because of all she’s done to me. I’m also afraid of any type of relationship with my granddaughter because I’m afraid of being sued if anything were to happen that my daughter perceives as negative or harmful. I know that she would jerk her away from me at the drop of a hat. There are just no answers here.

    1. David

      Eeyore, what a crappy situation. You have my sympathy. It’s a sign of the sickness of our times that you need to worry about a lawsuit from your children. Like me, it might help you see this as much a political problem or a social contagion as it is a personal problem. It might help you redirect part of your anger where it belongs.

    2. InJensWorld

      I’m so sorry. My one and only grandson is 15 months old and we are not allowed to meet him and at this point, never will be allowed to meet him. It’s so heartbreaking.

  20. Sara

    I convinced my son to do online family therapy together. He still doesn’t want me to contact him. After my initial anger and hurt over what he was saying in our sessions, I thought about the feelings behind his words and realized he wants to loved, valued and respected. I decided to listen better and verbally acknowledged to him the many ways I messed up as his mom. I have apologized for the pain I caused him in the past and made clear my desire to reestablish our relationship, but with a few boundaries of my own. He is hurting and depressed and I want to help him get better, and if that means giving him the space to vent even if I disagree with his logic I’ll do it.

    1. Kathy

      How is that working for you? Just curious. After noticing a gradual breakdown in our relationship and being insulted by my son and accused of things I have not done I told him that is not okay with me and my husband told him when he quits blaming us to give us a call. He is married to a substance abusing bipolar woman who plays the role of the influencing adversary. His personality has changed completely in the 14 years he has been with her. This was building up for awhile but now feels like we do not know when we will see or hear from him since mid June of this year. We are giving him his space as he requested and said we need to respect. I said I will honor that request but respect needs to be earned. I was really upset and crying for awhile but who wants to live with someone like that? I am now taking drum lessons and learning to read music, found a new exercise class I really like and making new friends that can be my new family. Our daughter is still in our life but difficult to deal with. Her son is 17 and we see him a few times a year even though we moved closer to be involved more in his life. Our daughter married an alcoholic/addict and has been divorced for 13 years. She too has been affected and has changed and not in a positive way. As already stated now that they do not need us anymore they do not want us. Not the way we were raised or the way we raised them. Just grateful they have been self supporting for many years with successful careers. Grateful too for this group and thanks everyone for sharing!

  21. Reade A.

    Reading all the letters here was helpful and enlightening. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories.

    Recently I read an article that stated grandparent alienation is abuse and often involves an adult child teaching their children abuse towards the grandparents in an attempt to make the children dislike the grandparents too. It is considered by the experts to be a severe form of combined child and elder abuse and is not a solution for breaking past cycles of  bullying and domestic abuse. It is simply the substitution of one form  of abuse for another.

    Most of my intense anger at my EC has dissipated with time except for the anger at the loss of my granddaughters. I used to think they’d look me up when they left home, but it seems the outrage exhibited by their parent has been fully internalized and is just who they are now.

    Hoping things will change has only brought more suffering. My children and grandchildren no longer seem real to me. However, there are two young children and their parents who live on either side of my house with whom I am developing a close relationship. I consider them a gift that counteracts the loss of my grandchildren. It’s more than enough to soothe my soul.

  22. Michael

    Hi my beautiful two oldest daughters have not spoken to me for 10years My. ex wife was a dictator and wanted everything her way, not sure if she has caused this rift. I made mistakes and have tried to discuss these mistakes with my daughters but they are not willing. I am so upset and devastated, that I dont go out I am lonely but embarrassed and so sad I am at the end. I am a 68 year old male with nothing.

    1. Elizabeth A.

      You are not alone. I am very sorry for this unfairness and I am beginning to believe the culture, ie social media and indoctrination of casting males as the one who always is the in the wrong. My companion and his adult children, complete rejection and annihilation, going on six years. It is torture. The adult children are in their mid thirties, millennial, the most spoiled, disrespectful and unethical generation I have experienced in British Columbia – I have 40 years as a public health nurse and solely worked with children, youth and university students. My companion wakes up every day with this devastation and being erased from his children’s lives. He wonders why he should keep going on with life, he is 70 now. I have never witnessed such torture and abuse by what adult children are doing. I am angry and I pray for karmic revenge as a way of venting my own vicarious emotions. My friend does try to practice gratitude each morning for just being a Dad and those years that he was. Some days are better than others but the pain is there every day. You are still young, do not be alone. We have ALL made mistakes including these adult children. Blessings to you Sir.

      1. Carleen

        You nailed it. My partner’s son and daughter are doing the same thing to him, so heart breaking. No response to texts or phone calls even though their cell phones are embedded into their hips. Last year, he texted his son for his email address so he could forward some money for his birthday. His son IMMEDIATELY responded. My partner got a very rude awakening that day and hasn’t spoken or texted his son since. They truly are the most spoiled, disrespectful and unethical generation I have ever experienced too.

    2. Susan

      None of us are perfect. I asked myself around the 6 year mark of my 8 years, how long am I going to let torment me and drive me down ?. It’s something you cannot control and it breaks your heart. Only you can make the next part of your life the best part with or without them . No one has the right to control your happiness. Only you can do that. Get out there and enjoy yourself, have fun do t give them the power you’re only 68 you have a lot of living to do.

    3. Diane M.

      Michael, You do matter and do have a life to live. It’s not all your fault. Your two daughters could have had a talk with you and told you their issues. None of us are perfect parents. We all make mistakes. As long as they know where you live and how to reach you, it’s up to them to contact you. In the meantime, please slowly get back into life. Take baby steps. You will feel better once you do get back into life. Live near a library? Spend some time there. Read. Take long walks. Don’t just keep to yourself. Get in touch with friends, or make new ones. We must continue to live our own lives. Good luck to you. Wishing you better days ahead.

    4. Ann

      I have to believe there is a larger plan in our lives. Please believe that there is more of you in the right time.
      Just hang on and something wonderful might turn up.
      Have faith.

    5. Christine

      I understand how you feel, Michael. I think I have been traumatized by the estrangement of our only beautiful daughter. Maybe we suffer from ptsd? Sometimes I think so. None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, say things we wish we could take back. One thing I’ve learned is that children are excellent observers, but terrible at interpretation. They have no idea of what we as people or parents have gone through in our lifetimes. I’m not even sure they see us as feeling human beings. As hard as that is to understand, it’s almost not their fault. I haven’t been able to let her go and it causes me a lot of pain and sleepless nights and anxiety. I try to stay active as everyone here is saying, but it always sneaks back and haunts me. I can only hope as her life progresses that she realizes with age how hard and unforgiving she was to me and others. But I had noticed how hard hearted she seemed with some people and thought she was not very nice sometimes, never thinking she’d turn her heartlessness on me. So maybe she’ll never come to this realization. But since I have no control over this situation, I continue to keep myself busy hoping that the ghosts of her dissipate over time. I feel lost sometimes that’s for sure, I feel I had a family once and now I don’t and don’t know how to live. This part of my life sucks and I will probably die sad about her. But in the end, it is really her loss—her loss of love, her loss of comfort, and her loss to the connection to her family and extended family. Keep strong, say and do loving things to yourself, keep plodding along, find things to do, it doesn’t solve everything, but it helps.

    6. Maxie

      I’m afraid that’s it, in a nutshell. They have set themselves up for it. Should we really just let them keep digging in the knife? I agree. No

  23. Michelle M.

    I do think they know how much they hurt you by limiting their time with you. My daughter and SIL would come to a neighboring town for Thanksgiving with Ex inlaws spend all week and spend 29 minutes on their way out of town. My mother who was alive at the time felt the same way as she babysat when they were sick and treated them very well. I had friends and neighbors ask and I would point out how she treated other friends growing up after a fallout. One friend who would go home after leaving out house would cry from my daughter’s bullying. I had no idea. Asked me about my next trip and it happened to be where she lived. She immediately asked if I would visit and I said no. Sadly, she understood. I was with a group of 20 from my ski club and someone asked if my daughter still lived there and I said yes. He asked if I was going to see my daughter and I just said it was complicated. It is sad but yes that anger has made me seek out new venues and friends. I joined a church group, a ski club, went to Egypt and met my friend that I text daily and she is like a daughter to me. We have gone to Israel and Jordan. We will go on safari in Nairobi and Tanzania in fall and Galapagos next summer. So when one door closes, another opens! Prayers for all to keep your hearts open and not hard.

  24. Natalie

    You have an excellent article here, Sheri, and I very much appreciate it. I did some anger going on but slowly and I realize anger is a useful tool if I want to be healed. I have to do it alone. I think our daughter left us not because of what we did. One time she asked if her boyfriend could stay over our house for a week. At first, we said ok without thinking about it carefully. Then few months later, she asked us the same question again, and we said ok. It happened again and again for a couple of years. We realized it got out of our hands and we decided to put in our house rules. A year after this, she left us just right after college graduation we paid for. Did she leave us because of our house rules? I think so, but our house rules are NOT justification for her cruel behavior.

  25. Lisa

    So much sadness for the last three years since our daughter cancelled us. First it was directed at my husband (her father). She placed boundaries on me when I was to call her, what I was allowed to talk about, etc. When I “crossed” those boundaries she included me in the estrangement. I knew how I felt throughout this (sad, mad, sad again, hopeful, mad again) and I knew how my husband felt (sad, mad, hopeful, thoughtful, sad again, mad again), but I didn’t know how much this affected her brother. He too is cancelled. And he too is sad, mad and angry that she is doing this to his parents. My pastor knows some of our story, and he said that because she cannot verify the abuse, she has to continue this or she will have to acknowledge the lies she has told. She has painted herself into a corner and does not know how to get out. My husband wants her back, I almost dread how a reconciliation will work and I fear it will be too painful to bear. Our life with her will never go back to what we thought it was. She has taken away my identity of how I viewed myself as a mother. I feel like a “fake”. And recently I have a hard time praying because I think God thinks I’m a fake. I want my daughter back and I want to be able to go to my Lord again.

    1. Lisa

      This resonates deeply with me. After 2 years of anger, pain, sadness, and therapy, I have come to realize that my husband and I were good parents. Sure, we made our mistakes, we are only human, but we loved our son beyond measure. What he and his wife decide have nothing to do with us. I realize now that I had to find my way home, back to myself. My happiness and deep peace come from knowing that I am enough, I was created to bring love and light in to this world ( It took me so long to realize this). Nobody has the power to take that from me. The fire we have gone trough the past two years has helped me grow as a person. It reminds me of the song “Refiners Fire”. I am being refined and changed. I have learned that the present is all I have and I will enjoy these moments. Our grandkids know how much we love them and maybe one day they will find their way back to us. My anger has been replaced with compassion for the struggles my son, DIL and grandkids will go through as they make their way through this very mixed up world.

    2. J

      I feel for you as I can relate to what you wrote, especially how she has taken your identity how you view yourself as a mother. I know my heart and best efforts were always devoted and loyal to my daughters’ well being, but they don’t see it that way. They’ve changed into ungrateful adults who feel entitled to USE me, to never help in the humble home I work so hard to provide them, yet they won’t even stop on their way home to buy toilet paper or milk which they use too. When I hug or kiss them gently hello or goodnight, they actually sigh, roll their eyes, get annoyed, wave their hand & pull away. I would give anything to hug and kiss my mother again but she is no longer here. What causes daughters or sons to become ungrateful for a caring mother’s love? ?They show no concern when I don’t feel well. NONE. Only annoyance. What happened to my daughters who loved me, the girls who I was close with, laughed with, who had the good values I taught them? My heart literally hurts, as they break it all the time.

    3. Maxie

      God does not think you are a fake. You have your husband and son. You may have been cancelled ( :
      But she is voided

    4. Barbara

      Hi Lisa,
      Your story is our story. Our 25-year old daughter cancelled us as well – first my husband, then me and now our son (her older brother). She had a cannabis-induces psychosis in March 2021 after vaping high potency THC for days on end, and pretty much lost her mind for about a month. Hallucinations, delusions, tics and dangerous behavior. I could write a whole page on the crazy things she said and did. Somehow she survived, and no one else was hurt either. But during her psychotic break she suddenly began to believe that her dad had been abusive. Her dad – who had done nothing but love and protect her, go to all of her games growing up and do everything possible to encourage and support her.
      I think your pastor is right that your daughter probably feels that she needs to continue with her story. Maybe our daughter feels the same. Our maybe it’s become a fixed delusion with her at this point. She sees on social media how our family still does things and goes places as usual. Vacations with extended family are still happening. She’s the only one not there.
      I don’t know you, Lisa, but I’m guessing that you’re like me and other moms on this site. You loved your children and did your best raising them. That’s all any of us can do, and that is good enough!
      And God certainly doesn’t look at you like you’re “fake”. He loves you and sees your pain. I pray to God every day and ask that he bring our daughter back to us, even though I’m so angry with her because of all the hurt she’s caused everyone.

  26. Kate T.

    It IS happening all over. Given that, there must be a common link, right? just as it is no coincidence that 500 people in a small town of say 1000 people, who all work at the chemical company down the road, all get cancer about the same time. “There are no conspiracies but there are also no coincidences.” – Stephen K. Bannon
    As I have been preaching everywhere regarding our problem, this is one of the by-products of our country’s loss of industrial jobs in the 80″s. Our government sought various ways to create new jobs to replace those lost and did so expanding the education and health fields. BOOM! then we had thousands graduating from liberal minded colleges with psych degrees who needed jobs. Coincidentally [on purpose] the entire population had some sort of mental problem and needed counseling and drugs.
    And with that came the over-use of all now familiar buzz words like ‘self-esteem’ ‘toxic’ ‘narcissist’ ‘ADD, OCD, etc.etc.’. All of our children had a disorder as did we. Ideas were planted, and the name calling, and blame, began. But at least we have a few more jobs!

  27. Linnie H.

    I am so angry with my youngest daughter whom I have always tried to be there for her and her family. She ghosted me for a whole year. After my youngest daughter ghosted me for a year then I got a text message asking if I could babysit her kids while my oldest daughter was healing from a hip surgery so of course I said yes thinking that this may be a opening for my youngest daughter and myself could have a relationship again, but no such luck. I was still able to see the grandkids after she no longer needed me to babysit, but then that changed as well, so now I haven’t been able to spend time with my grandkids since Easter. At first I was really angry and took it to heart that my daughter was just evil. My daughter’s excuse for my not be able to see the kids is that every time they come to my house they get sick, so I told her that her kids would always be sick when they got here and I was having to buy meds to help them feel better. They would get sick at school and come home and spread it around to everyone else. I knew that this was just an excuse for her. I now spend my time keeping myself busy enjoying life for myself by getting involved with different activities and by traveling. I still work full time so I try not to sit around soaking about that daughter because then I would be depressed. I pray that one day my grandkids will find me and want to be part of my life.

  28. Susan

    I walked away or more like I ran away. The abuse came in waves of pain. These beautiful children who I had given birth to, loved and nurtured where had they gone. The abuse and mental torture instigated by my son went on for 27 years my Daughter started 20 years ago. There came a time 8 years ago where I just walked out of their lives, no more trying to reason with them, no more trying to make them treat me with respect, no more listening to the lies, no more sorting out dramas. They are 43 & 45. I went through I guess it’s called grieving & bereavement. ANGER that I would allow them to hurt me so much. SHOCK that my body and mind had said enough is enough you can’t do this anymore walk no run away SADNESS because this is not what I had expected, I’d worn myself out trying to fix it, ANGER because many have what I wanted and no matter how hard I tried it was unachievable. FAILURE each time I explain I’m estranged from my Children. The important feeling has been RESIGNATION a strange and rather boring word. In this word I found so much peace. I know I did a good job raising them, I also know I gave my all to fix things but mostly I know that there will never be a time that they can undo the hurt & pain they inflicted on me. They will never be capable of the change required for me to even remotely forgive. So with RESIGNATION I realise they are gone. The honest truth is I don’t want them back. I’m no longer ANGRY, I’m no longer SHOCKED, I’m no longer feeling like a FAILURE . I am RESIGNED to living a beautiful happy life with my beautiful selected family and tribe.

    1. Jan B.

      Susan you could be me! Exactly my story, even the ages of son and daughter. I would add RELEASE to your inspirational list of descriptors. FORGIVE is too hard. RELEASE yes I can do that. I have released them forever and moved on with my beautiful life. Thank you Susan. You have a twin here in New Zealand.

      1. Zoe

        We must be triplets:). Same story here in Tennessee, USA. I still
        Get waves of anger… the disrespect is what I Can’t deal with. I need to let go.. concentrate on me for once. I pray one day mygrandkids will find me. But they are being manipulated by my daughter. You think that one day they will be sorry they didn’t have a relationship with you,. But honestly, my daughter couldn’t care less about her parents. We feel it. Xx blessings from Tennessee. Xx

    2. Sheila B

      Susan. Reading your story means everything to me. I wish I had the ability to descibe how much. My only child, a son, walked out of my life when he was 18. He is now 57 and I am 77. I have only seen him 3 times in all those years. The last time was 8 years ago. He was vile to me. Totally abusive. Like you, I decded to walk away. I have moved. I have a new phone number. There can be no further contact now. It has been so painful for me. I have questioned myself so many times. Reading your story has given me the strength to know I have done the right thing. Its about self preservation now. Thank you Susan. Please know that from your very sad story a light shone on a stranger and gave me an inner peace and strenght to RESIGN myself to letting go and moving on.

    3. Jodie

      I feel the same way. I don’t want to be sad anymore. I was so angry… so hurt.. depressed beyond words. Not anymore. It’s true, that saying… when ya done , ya done. I am finally done. It feels liberating . I am happy again. It took me 3 years but I am BACK.

  29. Kathleen B.

    I am not stating my kids’ behavior toward me because it is the same as you all are stating. But I think it is important what my response is and that is to try to live one day at a time with as much joy as I can muster. I’m 73 and live alone but have a great support community because of my church friends. I do “ leave the door open” for my two sons but I don’t accept their negativity or ridiculous accusations. I contact my grandchildren separately to the degree I am able. This acceptance of my situation has given me much peace and I am responsible for my own behavior which is all anyone can really be. I want to enjoy the life I have left to live. Today I went to the movies and have upcoming dinner plans with friends. This was a fun day to be alive. I so wish you all well.

    1. Wanda

      I’m so glad that you had a fun day. I am a hard worker and have used keeping busy to help me cope with the grief of strained relationships with my children. This year, however, I decided it would be a year of love and joy. I am giving myself permission to experience joy and to give and receive love and kindness. I’ve drawn closer to my Heavenly Father knowing that he understands very well the pain of being rejected by one’s children.

    2. MARY

      I have pretty much the same outlook as you do towards the estrangement of my older son. I decided long ago that his behavior would not affect my life. I also live alone but fill my days with activities. I am an Associate Sister of St Francis of Sylvania and attend many events with the good sisters. I work at Alverno Studio and create murals which are on many of the walls in Sylvania and the Toledo area. One of our works is in the Toledo Zoo petting area! I scrapbook and enjoy card making. I make Christmas ornaments. I have gained the reputation of being the, “Craft Grandma” and I have made crafts with my grandchildren for years. All of my grandchildren are out of town so I either plan trips to see them to do craft projects or host Video Chats on Facebook. The sadness of not talking to my older son for the last 10 years never goes away but thankfully his wife decided long ago she wanted her two daughters to know their Grandma. It is a small step but is a big gift to me. I hope this helps people out there… Remember, we have only one life and should not waste it being angry or sad about things we cannot control. Appreciate what you have and move on with life. I take pride in the fact that I raised my son to be a successful Mechanical Engineer and gave him all the advantages I could in life. He is an independent man – successful in his career. I raised him to do that and am glad he used my parental gifts to attain that goal in life. If he does not appreciate that huge gift, it is on him not me… In closing, just remember your child’s ungrateful behavior is not your fault. They are adults and have the ability to make good choices in life. If they make bad choices and decide to hurt you instead of love you back, that is on them NOT YOU.

      1. Kathleen B.

        How right you are. Love all the work you are doing and the crafts. It doesn’t take away all the hurt but it does show positivity and joy despite the unkind way you have been treated. Kathleen

    3. Bodhi

      I am also 73, and have one estranged daughter, who was adopted at age three. She is now 26. Always had social difficulties, but we did everything to raise her lovingly, with all supports, and caring community. She also got in trouble for lying, stealing and deception, for years. But I always supported and helped her. But today, she moved in with a sketchy boyfriend who we don’t know. She keeps a little contact with her father, but nothing with me, even though we were close. So these days, I’m not angry, I have to accept. My husband often blames me, I think he needs to have a scapegoat. But I refuse that. I was a very good parent.
      Not perfect, but honest and caring. Until my daughter reconciles, I don’t want her in my home. It’s been a year now, and I don’t think she is going to connect with me. Im reading about Stoicism, and one book by Marcus Aurelius, called Meditations. About how to live a good life. So inspiring!! Yes, just live your life, try to be happy, as we have no control over other people, including our children. I wish you all the best.

  30. Lorraine B.

    It really helps to see that I’m not alone. This is the third time my Son has cut me out of his life. It hadn’t lasted as long as this last time. We had no communication for a year now. That was until Saturday when my Daughter whom I’m still very close with threw a birthday party for my Grandson. She invited my Son, his Wife and my one yo Grandson. I had held him once at 5 days old then after I purchased numerous gifts for the baby I was told I’m selfish person and didn’t have the right to be in his life. I’ve tried so many times to reach out to my Son as I have no resolution as to why he has done this to me. I think it was a perfect storm of his new job as a police officer, his marriage to someone who doesn’t like me and his blame for me divorcing his Dad? He has changed so much that I don’t even recognize him any longer. I am at the anger stange because I feel used. He puts his Father on a pedestal and I was the one who raised him. His Dad was a OTR truck driver and not home much. My Son was a self professed “Mama’s boy” we were always so so close. Then after he married and got his job things began to change. I found myself the target of his rage. I couldn’t say anything without him getting mad at me. If I didn’t answer the phone he would punish me by not calling for a few days. I walked on eggshells and it was horrible. I don’t miss what he’s become but I miss the son I used to adore. The hardest part is not having a relationship with my Grandson. I asked on Saturday if I could hold him. I was simply told “no” I asked if I could give my Son a huge? Again “no” I said can we take a quick walk and talk? “No” I retreated to my car and sobbed for 20 minutes. Then my ex and his new Wife showed up and my son and DIL took my Grandson to them and said “go see grandma” and handed my Grandson to my ex’s wife. I am mad! How dare you treat me like this? If I had done ANYTHING to deserve this I haven’t been told what that is? I have literally lived my entire life for my children. This is the most hurtful and soul crushing thing I’ve ever gone through. I’ve been through a lot too. My Son even told my Daughter he hopes I lose it and off myself. I have to get past this somehow. It helps to read stories of self preservation. May we all find peace and happiness in our lives once more.

    1. Stacey M

      I am hurting for you as I know the pain you are going through. Our oldest daughter cut us off too, our youngest daughter, her father and I. She writes on Social Media that we are TOXIC and she is the one who started this mess!!! I think the word is “entitled”. I feel we should have taken our girls to church too but they were not interested. We don’t get to see our grandchildren either. Thank God our youngest daughter and her husband have a little girl that we can love. Please hang in there and I will pray for you friend.

    2. Betsy S.

      I am so sorry. I KNOW what that is like. It’s impossible for people to understand unless they’ve been in our shoes. ❤️

      1. Regina F.

        I could only acknowledge the suffering I caused to my mother when I myself became the mother of a narcissistic adult child. I don’t know if I was a narcissist but I do know that I was acting at the behest of the devil or I was totally insane. I terribly regret every tear I made my mother cry but it’s too late – I’ll never again be able to ask her forgiveness face to face, or hug her with all the love she deserved. I would like to know how many of us made our parents suffer and are now reaping the evil we sowed.

    3. Kate T.

      That is so horrible. I have experienced similar treatment, so I certainly have empathy for you. So here is the idea I came up with. Let us all put together a “witness protection” program so we can disappear and start over without all of this troublesome baggage. LOL. Joking aside I have done that as much as I can, moved away from it all both physically and mentally, but sadly the pain never goes away.

    4. Chritine

      My heart breaks for you as I can totally relate. My oldest son has not talked to me for the past year and a half. He just hung up the phone on me as he was angry at his life and decided to never talk to me again except to fling verbal insults and hateful comments. He too wishes me dead. So many hurtful things he has said and I still have no idea what I have done. One thing that hurts me so badly is that no one confronts him and tells him that he should not be treating his Mother this way. I don’t know if I’m wrong for feeling that but sometimes I wonder if he heard it from a family member if he would have a change of heart?

      1. Maureen P.

        I don’t think it’s wrong to feel that way. I too have felt the same way. Wondering why nobody has spoken out on my behalf?

  31. Jane M.

    My husband and I have 4 children three which are estranged. We payed for the three estranged children’s college education, bought cars etc but after we did all that we didn’t seem to be useful anymore and the relationship became more estranged. We do have a good relationship with our one adopted son and his family. It’s very difficult to not be able to see our grandchildren from our estranged children that are 42, 36 and 31. They don’t communicate with each other and have us blocked on social media and by phone. My husband was diagnosed with leukemia 2 weeks ago and I had to send them each a letter to inform them of their Dad’s diagnosis. We’re angry and fed up at this point and are focusing on us as a couple and on my husband’s health and treatment. We were there for all of them when they were children if they were I’ll or had surgery now we’re expecting zero support from them throughout my husband’s cancer journey. The emotional pain and hurt is intense and the disappointment that we raised such uncaring, selfish and non compassionate kids is at times overwhelming. For some reason the hurt seems so much more intense from our only daughter. I would have never predicted her to be this cold and uncaring. I know we’re not the only parents dealing with this situation but it seems like roles are reversed and now they control us as far as a relationship. Biggest hugs to all estranged parents ❤️

    1. Nancy

      We also feel largely abandoned by our two adult children and it is very hard to deal with. Both of them live out of state and we rarely get to see either one of them. I gave up my career to stay home with them and raise them and supported them in any way that I could. We always had a great relationship. But now that they are off on their own, it seems like we have fulfilled our purpose for them and they have largely left us behind. After my husband’s dementia diagnosis, my son’s response over the phone was to tell us “just to make the best of every day!” My daughter does not want to discuss anything about her father as she finds it too upsetting, but can she imagine how I feel?! I know we will really not have any support of any kind from either one of them, and I feel so let down, sad, but angry too that they feel no responsibility and really no compassion for either one of us!

  32. Joan

    I found it easier to deal with the estrangement of my adult son (and by extension my d-in-law and two young grandchildren now almost 3 and 5) when I chose compassion over anger. Yes, I was very hurt and angry at first, (lots of tears and sleepless nights) but then felt “sorry” for him. He’s obviously dealing with inner struggles I don’t know an out and for that I feel badly for him. Taking it out on me was his choice, and I did the best I could raising both my kids. He’s in his mid 30’s now and he and his family are missing out by excluding me from their lives. I surrendered to the situation, have no idea if he will ever come around to try and repair the damage done, but again, that will be his choice. I’m in my mid 70s and am moving on with my life — with or without him in it. I’m sad my grandchildren have probably forgotten me and won’t have an opportunity to know Grandma Joan. But I’m keeping my door open for all of them. You just never know what will (or won’t) come about. BTW your two books had a lot to do with getting me through this, so thank you!

    1. Judy

      I agree with your “moving on” attitude. My kids are 24 and 26. They have had NO communication with me for three years. Grief comes in waves. I will be ok for a couple of months; then waves of grief take over and I cry for hours. I realize I have no control of this. I always send cards on special occasions such as their birthday. No response ever. They were my world growing up. I divorced their father when they were little because of his refusal to address substance abuse. He (I believe) had a hand in turning the girls against me. I have remarried a wonderful man and am working at moving on. It hurts. But with every wave of tears, healing is occurring and I work at building new memories with my new husband. That is all I can do. I am 64 and I hope to look back and see I have built a great life in spite of what my children have decided. Best to all dealing with estrangement. It’s the times we live in. But we can have a great life.

  33. Char

    I’ve read all the responses here today and feel so many of the same feelings. There are days when I am so confused, mad and angry that my son, and his wife have chosen to banish me from their lives. It’s like any of the closeness we shared has just been erased. They keep telling me I keep crossing boundaries, but when I ask them to tell me what boundaries they are, I get nothing. That was so upsetting. I can’t fix what I don’t know. It’s been two years since I’ve seen my son and I miss the way we use to laugh together. I’m bitter towards him for not standing up for the person he was raised to be. I have good days and bad days, and there are times I want to send my son a simple message, but don’t want to deal with what will come back. I am trying to move on with my life, and am so very greatful for the strong relationship I still have with my daughter.
    This is something they don’t school you on as a parent. My heart and prayers go out to ALL the parents going through this. ❤️

    1. Lorraine B.

      Your comment is like reading my own personal story. Thank you so much for sharing. I am going through the exact same thing. I held my Grandson 5 days old and saw him at my Daughter’s Son’s birthday on Saturday. My Son and his wife would not let me near him. I even asked if I could hold him and was told “no” I’m beyond devastated. The longer it goes on the more I know it can never be repaired.

    2. JP

      Identical here. I have no idea what boundaries I have crossed or what behaviour is intolerable to him. All I know is that I have been cut off and blocked every way possible.
      If I could just find out what I did wrong?. I must be doing it to other people as well, but I have no idea. Maybe I am as clueless as he accuses me of. I don’t seem to have trouble with anybody else in the world except him.

      1. Tamara

        Same here…no matter what I say it’s wrong. I am angry that I feel I can’t do anything right. I feel it is better for me to not have a relationship with her, unfortunately.

  34. Tovah

    My husband is more angry and more emotional about the estrangement than me, mainly because our EDs had far more opportunity to abuse me for at least 2-3 years while he was still in the workforce and I was home with them.

    They also regularly practiced triangulation with us. There were times that it brought us to the brink of divorce. Thankfully, we stuck together in the end.

    To him, this anguish is very new and, of course, the newness of it brings the element of shock and sorrow that I already experienced prior to the estrangement. He is also what I call a cockeyed optimist when it comes to family and chooses to believe that they will “come around” one day and love us again.

    I do not believe that. I am keeping a small window cracked but not a wide open door but I question what would have to take place for them to have this epiphany.

    Our children both have attachment disorders stemming from international adoptions and being severely neglected/abused as babies. That disorder seems to have progressed to narcissism. I’ve been seeking out knowledge about narcissism. One idea about why narcissists strive to hurt those who show them love is the perception by the narcissist that the empaths (us) are retched individuals for investing such love in someone who has only mistreated them. It’s like, “You are pretty stupid for loving me. I only want to kick more dirt in your face!”

    Not sure how often this idea applies and to whom but it seems to make sense.

    I’ve also gleaned information that the narcissist possesses little or no self worth and rejects those who show devotion because they do not feel worthy of receiving it.

    My husband has to be patient and experience the full throttle impact of his “new” rejection. I am standing by his side every step of the way. I know that underneath the narcissism of our EDs is deep insecurity, fictional living and mask wearing to create a convincing facade.

    1. GLK

      Tovah, that is precisely my story. International adoption, now estranged son. I was the closest one to blame for his situation. I believe that his attachment disorder has turned into borderline personality. Worse for you is that you have two to feed off each other. I get it. I know exactly what you are going through.

      1. Annette D.

        I m not angry about my daughter’s estrangement.But very sad for all the family .
        I am struggling with anxiety ..l am sure it is because of the lack of our D in our lives.,

      2. Missy

        I grew up with this dynamic. My sister would throw her adoption in my mother’s face every time there was a confrontation. I believe my mother was afraid of her and gave in rather than face the wrath. I was trained to be a people pleaser. In therapy, this is what my therapist helped me see was a pattern in my life, family of origin, and later in my marriage and children. I was in such denial over events of infidelity, I did everything while my ex did little to nothing. I was taking advantage of financially and emotionally and “fixed” everything. Until I was so unhappy and “angry.” My self esteem plummeted during the divorce and my daughters were like get over it. My ex lied to them and made me out to be crazy. I was stealing their childhood home. All not true. I crazy and reactive after the games he played with the divorce. I was expected to quietly walk away and leave them to carry on. Therapy and the gym saved my life. I was so angry and never saw that I would end up the villain. I was so blindsided by my family that it almost killed me. My sister and one of my daughters is either very narcissistic or Bi Polar or BPD. MY Daughter was diagnosed with ADD in college which sometimes manifests the same. Her accusations are exaggerated and untrue. She has threatened suicide over money even after saying I would give it to her. She accuses me of kicking her out/not true. High fear of abandonment. She is in one relationship after another. The other daughter has high anxiety. Her husband seems very controlling. I was not invited to her destination wedding as my ex and his new family were there. As was the women he cheated on me with effectively ended my marriage and a forty-year friendship. My sister fuels their hate for me after I had to go no contact from it all. She became physically aggressive after my mom died. My ex points them to me when they are in need of money. I have learned much since my divorce and no longer will be used transactional in exchange for a token of their time. My oldest daughter would text on Mother’s Day and other holidays. Sorry busy, will try later. I had the same text every holiday. I said don’t bother there were 364 other days you could have tried. I do not have any other family, but I have a great group of friends that supported me through this ordeal. I have little hope that this will ever be resolved and have chosen to live a full life.

      3. Tovah

        Hi GLK,

        I’m sorry to hear about the situation with your son. The more I learn about BPD the more I see the signs and symptoms of it in our EDs, it’s eerie, so this may indeed be what RAD evolves into in adulthood.

        Our younger ED has recently resurfaced to demand money from us despite her going no contact for the last 2 years and displaying nothing but rage toward us. She is pursuing a lifestyle far out of her own reach and has decided that we are duty bound to finance it.

        This obsessive nature of BPD is so in evidence with them both and, yes, as you said, they most certainly do feed off of each other!

        Be well,

        1. GLK

          That is exactly the case…the message “I dont love you, I want nothing to do with you…oh by the way, can I have (insert request here)”. He understands well how much i want to be his mother, so approaching me with the “sweet talk” which is meant to tug at my motherly love and soften me up, only to ask for something. He is not understanding now, however, that I no longer am taken in by his act of giving me the privilege of being his mother, but rather I myself have adopted the role of a caregiver, without emotional attachment (I am 90% good at this, not 100% yet). It probably feels safer for him that way and honestly its much better for me. I no longer feel like its up to me to make him feel better for him hurting us, AND I am only offering a family to him, but am not a bank. That part is finished. Keep well.

    2. Bodhi

      Tovah, your story is exactly like mine! Our daughter was adopted from an orphanage in India, at age three. She had an excellent upbringing, lots of community, private school, many advantages. However, also attachment disorder, and learning difficulties. She became antisocial, and we had four years of family therapy with an excellent therapist. She continually would sabotage our relationship, just when we appeared to be getting close. Lots of lying, stealing, shoplifting, even a court case. But I was always there for her. My husband still feels sorry for her, he is almost obsessed with her, and will defend her no matter what. But she chose a sketchy boyfriend, and became estranged from me. She texts her father occasionally, as I believe she wants her inheritance one day. We cannot predict how people turn out. It is beyond our control. I’ve decided to live my life, and mostly, I feel better without all the drama. It has almost caused us to divorce, as she came between us. However, I feel that my marriage is more important, and I will continue with my partner. I hope one day he can see the truth.

      1. GLK

        Bodhi, In our adoption support group very early on we learned about the tactics to upset the family dynamic and try to separate the parents. The idea is that these kids, who feel like they arent in control of anything, feel much more in control if they ruin the environment and a great way to do that is to cause discord among the couple. My son was causing me grief and I kept telling my husband that he was doing this deliberately to me…my husband didnt believe me until one day….an incident happened that he just so happened to see. I think in his mind, how could this lovely 2 year old charming boy do anything…it must be me. Today, as my husband puts it “it seems as if any time we are all enjoying each other and having fun, he just has to do something to ruin it” . Sadly he is not in our lives but I think its probably better this way than to take him on his terms which is chaotic, demanding. I think for my son, loving him means never saying no, showering him with gifts and expecting nothing from him. My position today….not happening. To quote my daughter “mom its time for you to stop being a pushover”….true for all of us.

  35. D&C

    To say we are angry at our entitled, spoiled, narcissistic grown adult, yet immature daughters who cut us out of their lives for several years now would be an understatement. We finally got fed up with it all and sold our house and moved 3 hours away, and it felt liberating to do that. Seeing how they feel the need to keep secrets and not inform us of anything, now they can ‘get a little dose of their own medicine’ because we’ve moved on physically and emotionally the best we can by now. Self-preservation is key.. praying for them and learning to let them go is an ongoing process and one that may never end but is what is needed to keep going. This love of many growing cold is happening to families all over and is only going to get worse according to God’s Word. Our daughters have opted not to have children of their own because they know that their kids would end up treating them the way they’ve treated us. It’s all a bunch of crap and you’d do yourself a favor by taking care of yourself because after all the only person you can control is yourself. Kids these days are under satanic mind control and are hell bent on discarding loved ones for virtually no reason if any at all. It’s a sick and twisted world we live in.. sad but true. Sincerely, from 2 loving parents who had 2 girls (once upon a time)… but words here cannot convey all that we have been through… but hope this can help someone who also sees no end in sight.

    1. Mary

      We have one daughter that has not talked to us for 12 years. She actually rents an apt. from us, pays rent, and my husband pays for about two of her utilities. We have thought maybe she has some kind of mental illness but just this last November our OTHER daughter got mad at me for telling my sister that she had some marital issues and now THAT daughter is not talking to us. It is more complicated than what I have told you but that is the jist of it. I am very depressed about this. Long story.

    2. Carol. B.

      You are so right. I truly believe the family is a target for being dissolved by the new culture. You try to bring up your children to follow Christian values of love, forgiveness, and respect for others. Now you see they are bypassed. Angry,suppressed and haunting. Isolation and failing health are my present issues. It has been 6 years since I have seen my 2 children , their families. Does the pain ever go away, never. It lies under the surface like a sickening cloud of doom. The pain over shadows anger. I don’t have the strength to get angry anymore. I am tired, very tired. I never did anything so bad to deserve this treatment. My only peace is knowing God still loves me.

      1. Susan

        (Hugs) to you Carol. There seems to come a time in,some Adult children’s lives where we are disposable. Many Parents stay in abusive relationships with their children for fear of losing contact with them or the Grandchildren. My Daughter’s last words were “your the only one missing out” but not being abused by self entitled spoilt brats is not what I call missing out. I have learnt that punishing oneself for something you have no control over is a waste of life. It sounds impossible but it can be done. Move on. do things you enjoy, gardening, walking, exercise, journaling, learn something you have always wanted to do. This time is YOUR time and don’t let them steal this away from you . Buy a gift for yourself once a week why because you DESERVE it. Make this time your best time. Their choice and their actions should not ruin your life. Remember you are not alone

    3. J Elaine

      Is this a Millennial thing??? What have we done wrong in raising our kids that they have turned out this way?? I would never expect anything from my mom (dad passed many years ago). She gave me life, I had a good childhood, was well cared for and loved, always felt safe and secure but I wasn’t spoiled or doted upon. Once I became an adult, I didn’t expect anything more- I was given everything I needed – my parents owed me nothing else. I never disrespected them and never would I ever have considered ignoring them. I am grateful for the way I was raised- to be independent and hardworking, kind and generous. Why do my adult kids feel entitled to keep taking? They expect everything, are grateful for nothing. We’ve bent over backwards helping them financially, physically (with cross country moves) and emotionally when needed. I’ll never understand this situation/estrangement. I could rant on and write pages of details but mainly I want to say I’m sorry to see so many of you out there hurting like I do. I guess I’m looking for someone to say it’s okay to move on and not subject myself to continued drama and emotional blackmail.

      1. rparents Post author

        Dear J. Elaine,

        It’s okay to move on and not subject yourself to continued drama and emotional blackmail.

        Sheri McGregor

  36. Ann

    I have learned to live with one of my children being estranged for nearly 20 years. Over those years, there was a lot of anger and grief, with spoken “venting” at home and in the car when I was alone. I felt I had become two separate people: The hurt and broken inside self, and the external person cheerfully going about a normal existence.

    At the beginning of this year, I was shocked when two of my other children (who had befriended their estranged sibling) made hurtful and false allegations about me. There was no right of reply; no defence allowed against this latest “truth bomb”, because “Mum is a liar”. All the old feelings came back with a vengeance, except this time there was a new, profound sadness reaching to the pit of the stomach, coupled with anger at their injustice. With a sense of shock, my eyes have been opened as to their true characters, which are spiteful and vindictive. Sleep has suffered and gastro-intestinal problems have flared up (again).

    All I can say is that time is the best healer. I have come to the realisation that it’s impossible to change how people perceive or judge us. We can’t change the characters and attitudes which our much loved children have allowed themselves to develop. I have decided to no longer internally accept being someone’s verbal “punching bag”. Am trying to move forward (with the occasional angry feelings of injustice), hoping that these truth bombers’ own life experiences may, over time, change their perceptions of others.

    Meanwhile, a left-behind-at-home cat is a good friend! She seems to know when I’m upset and sidles up to give some company. It’s an unexpected comfort.

  37. Kathleen

    The main feeling I experienced was confusion, then frustration, then sadness. I still experience these feelings from time to time, mostly sadness about missing my grandchildren. I have come to understand parental alientation by adult children as a social phenomena. I suspect that there is a fair bit of support among peers for adult children to blame their parents instead of taking responsibility for themselves. That is rather sad. I remember feeling angry with my mother at times, but I would never alienate her, especially from her grandchildren. I understood that she carried her own trauma and that she did her absolute best even if I wished she could have done some things differently.
    I have decided to take very good care of myself so that when I do see my grandchildren, I will be in the best possible shape to respond to them, without expressing any frustration about the lost time together due to the behavior of their parents. I regularly turn toward my recurring feelings of sadness and frustration with compassion. I really embrace those feelings fully. When I feel fully heard by myself with understanding and kindness, the feelings dissipate. They come back from time to time, because it is a deep grief. I repeat the practice.
    I also know from experience that all pain can be transformed. I simply trust that something good will come of this situation that I find myself in. I don’t yet know what that good is, and I am open to learn from the experience. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “No mud, no lotus”. Suffering is the mud. I don’t need to make it worse with blaming and complaining thoughts. Just be patient and make room for happiness as well as sadness.
    As we all know, we cannot change others. We can, however, change our own perspective and attitude. As TNH has also said, “Happiness is available; please help yourself.
    If I feel like complaining, I deliberately wish my daughter and her husband well. I believe they are doing their best. Criticism or complaint toward my daughter and son-in-law will not motivate any change. It will only serve to entrench their defensive stance. That being said, from time to time, I do consciously complain to safe adults who can validate my suffering. I am not responsible for my daughter’s behaviour, nor the impact of her behaviour on others, including my grandchildren. I choose to believe that my grandchildren will be okay and that at some point, it is likely (although not certain) that we will enjoy some quality time together. I can still be quite happy and grateful for my wonderful life in this very moment.

    1. Lynn

      This is so good. I am still in the devastation phase. I miss my three grandsons so much and worry they will forget me. It has been 8 months since one daughter told she she wanted me out of her life and almost two months since my other daughter spoke the same words. Like they practiced together. I am trying to move forward and do things that make me happy. Working through “ done with crying” yet I am not done yet. I angry. I raised them alone and thought I did an awesome s job with three great kids and now this. I refuse to believe their “ story” that their life was awful. My memories are so happy raising them through think and thin. Thank you for listening

    2. Jane Ann

      Thank you for this beautiful post. I, too, am trying to be still, calm, and show compassion to my Self during those times the intense sadness, shame, and guilt resurface. It is usually in the night as I try to fall asleep; in the morning I do not experience such grief. But I believe compassion toward the self is the key… knowing we all did our very best in raising our children, and loved them, and still do, with all our hearts.

    3. melanie z.

      hi kathleen,
      Thank you for your post. you are very encouraging.
      my daughter, married with one child at the time, and very pregnant, found out about her Fathers adulterous affair and stopped speaking to me days after her daughter was born. now she is trying and partially succeeding to turn her other 5 siblings against me, to protect her Father. i think she is mentally ill. while i understand she was confused and alienated by her Fathers involving her and going over boundaries when we were divorcing (although i tried to offer him rehab as well) , i find it hard to see her vindictiveness, wanting to prove herself right, and ruin my other relationships. it is baffling. she stopped speaking to me overnight , with no explanation, when my granddaughter was a week old. she has since had another child, that everyone in the family celebrates except me. she even opened up a whats app group called- small but perfect family. i think she has become ill. i am angry that i have to deal with these lies and that they all beleive her and my ex. my children have become cold and callous, unfeeling, and selfish, like their father, and this pains me too. and they also have messed up values, like it is okay to be unfaithful just because you are unhappy . maybe they will do it to their spouses as well?
      it is terribly lonely. it seems that all of my kids, except the youngest, are estranged from me (5 out of 6) . one 19 year old son has not seen me except 2 times in the last 8 months, (his sister really worked on him for over a year) nor has he visited me in my home. he is not interested in a relationship anymore- i would like to hope, for now. .he told me that one day he hopes he will have room in his heart to let me in……….. i invested so much in all of them! and was always there for them! i was the one who took them to the doctors, spoke with teachers, arranged tutors, celebrated their successes, bought them the clothing, got them ready for school, all that. and i feel betrayed. but kathleen, your post gives me encouragement to just move on, take care of myself, and go forward even with this deep pain. sometimes i think of them, as my kids that i remember from another lifetime…….

  38. Rebecca

    Im very frustrated and angry and sad all at once. My daughter is the one who abruptly decided she no longer wanted a relationship with me, dont know if its from an issue with taxes in which I caught her trying to lie on taxes that would end up me being screwed over while she was living at home with me and over the age of 18. I divorced their abusive alcoholic dad while i was in the military and gave them the best life I could. My son so far is still speaking to me. I dont know if my daughters current boyfriend is controlling it but I feel she is smarter than that to be manipulated but also she has reconnected with her dad the one person that was never there for her and now im the one being punished for God knows what. This has been 3 years this month. I know i wasnt a perfect parent and I did the best that I could in fact so good I feel that both of my kids have done outstanding, they graduated high school without becoming a teen parent, ( i would of been there for them if they had become a teen parent or in jail you know what i mean) or jail time or drugs and my son is in the Air Forces doing outstanding things and I was there for my daughter when she graduated with an Associate’s and then her in a Bachelor program and she was with me until the last 4 months before that graduation and she left with no words. I cried so much because I wanted to see her walk across the stage graduated with her bachelors degree but she deprived me of this cause she knew I wanted to see her do this, but instead gave that to her dad. Yeah the one that left her when she was 2 years old and married 4 other wives after me. Yeah he wasnt there for her at all. So yeah im angry that she did that to me. I scour the internet for pictures of her or any info, and no one seems to care wether she speaks to me or not. Lazy father just kicked back doing nothing as usual and I did all the hard work while he did absolutely nothing. I didnt chose to be a single mom i chose not to raise my kids with an abusive alcoholic parent. So I feel so angry that after all we have been thru she chose to walk this route. I hope she never becomes a single mom or has a bad relationship or marriage or have kids and they chose to do the same thing, but maybe she will realize, but then it may be too late for me. Im 59 and there are no grandkids yet and Im just here trying to live my life. If i chose to let it go I feel that I gave up so I text. She hasn’t blocked me yet at least i see that she hasn’t but maybe she got a new phone and just keeps that so she will know if im alive or not if i dont text anymore i dont know. They just dont understand that none of us comes with a book of instructions and we all were learning at the same time and mistakes were made but we got thru them. So this is my life, Im trying to get out of a bad marriage and move on, and feel after this marriage ends i will fell totally lonely but I have to try to keep it moving and enjoy my life, but its not the same without her. Sorry for the long vent

    1. Barb

      Hello Rebecca
      I felt compelled to reply to you immediately and express my gratitude to you for sharing this heartbreaking life changing period of your life.
      My daughter left our home almost a year ago to live with the father (and his husband ) who left our marital home when our daughter was 12.
      There has been no contact from my girl and I have been blocked completely.
      To say I am heartbroken is truly an understatement.
      Words fail me regarding the childish adolescent behaviour my ex is displaying….he acts as if he has totally saved the day by taking our girl into his home.
      I ,of course, am a monster …someone to be ridiculed and cast out like a rabied dog.
      So I have stepped back , the pain in doing this was unimaginable but, it has saved me.
      I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and went walking, joined groups found christ again and have met amazing beautiful people who love me for just being me. I now take care of me and help others when I can.
      Yes I live alone , no partner but I am never alone as I have god with me every step of my journey and it gives me so much comfort .
      I will pray for you Rebecca and your happiness . Again thank you for sharing your story ❤️

  39. Diane M.

    Many years ago, my daughter and her family stopped communicating with me. It was so sudden and I still don’t know why. I finally excepted the situation as it was. But now I have a new anger. I found out my granddaughter is engaged and is planning her wedding. I found out by looking online. I felt like I was punched! Now, I feel like even if they ever want to reconcile with me, I don’t know that I can ever trust them again. I work on my anger by journaling plus talking to a counselor. I have also told my closest friends about never letting my daughter and her family back into my life, ever. I know I won’t be invited to my granddaughters wedding. The ball was always in my daughters court. She always set the “rules” of our relationship. No more. Now the balls in my court. I always thought I would forgive them. Now, I know I never could. This was my last straw. I was so glad and grateful that this month’s topic was anger. Thank you, Sheri. I’m sure we all have this emotion. So much pain in our hearts. I am so grateful for all of you being brave enough to share here. Your comments help me and many others. Take good care…

    1. Gloria

      Diane, I feel your hurt and am here to tell you that sadly, you’re not alone. My only son stopped talking to myself and his grandparents going on 3 yrs now. At first, I would txt him with of course no replies. Finally, after about 5 months of silence, I asked if there was something going on between us. Surprisingly he responded that they were fine and there were things that needed saying but we needed to talk in person and since we were both busy, we’d have to see when that could happen. Told him since he was the busiest of the two, to let me know when. Until I heard from him again, I racked my brain about what he could be mad about that would cause him to distant himself. I thought of a couple of things but none that merited that type of reaction. This whole time I was torn between sadness and hurt. At least now I knew he was mad about something. About 2 months later he invited me to lunch 4 days from then. The night before the lunch I was so nervous and scared, I barely slept. We met, went through what I felt very awkward small talk, ate (I could barely eat I was so nervous and nauseous) only for him to get the bill, pay it and act like he was getting ready to go. I stopped him and asked what it was that needed talking. When he told me what it was, I was shocked! It had been something I had thought of but it was so petty, I just could not believe that was what he was mad about. In fact, it made me mad. I told him I didn’t agree with his anger but whatever but what did that have to do with his grandparents, especially his grandmother, and this is when I realized I didn’t know who he was anymore, he said he regretted it but ” grandma was collateral damage” Excuse me?! Wow! I was speechless. I told him I was done with him. I had done the best I could, he’d had a good childhood and how I’d always been there for him and didn’t deserve any of it, I was finally in a decent place and didn’t need the sadness or tears any interaction with him left me with. Told him the ball was in his court, he knew where and how to find me. A month later, he called out of the blue to tell me he’d heard me at lunch and wanted to repair our relationship. Like you, the trust was gone. I wondered why he’d really called, and I soon found out. He was proposing that weekend to his girlfriend. He told me how he planned on doing it and wanted me to find out from him and not facebook. Sunday, mom and I are at a church function when my phone starts going off. I finally checked and he’d proposed alright but had planned an engagement party to which we were not invited. Talk about hurt! The now fiancée had posted pictures of them, their friends, her parents and grandmother. I was left fielding questions about why we were not in the pictures! Friends and family thought one of us might have had covid, was sick, we were out of town etc. That was the last straw! I didn’t congratulate him but texted him saying that if excluding us in his engagement party was his idea of repairing our relationship, he was way off base. My parents were extremely hurt. My mother has finally accepted that we’ve lost him. They have since had a baby and although we are allowed to see her, they don’t make it too easy to do so. At first, I was just going to keep my distance as it is very strained and awkward between us but then decided I was not going to give him the excuse to tell my granddaughter that I chose to stay away from her. Like you, the trust along with my heart has been broken. I realize and understand things will never be the same because of that. This group saved my emotional state. I actually thought I was the only one going through such a stressful, hurtful and depressing time and even though deep down, I knew I hadn’t done anything, I still felt I was somehow broken to have caused such a rift. Although it hurt to see so many going through the same hurt, I was, I no longer felt alone. Take care and stay strong.

  40. Richard

    I live in the Sierra Foothills and my estranged son is only 28 miles away yet he does not bother with me at all. He and his wife have had two additional boys since I became “not worth talking too” back in 2016, Sept 16 to be exact. It has broken my heart and the anger I feel about it is very strong and spills over into other aspects of my retired life. I try to leave it behind me and sometimes I can but sometimes I am acutely aware of the enormous loss his abandonment of me is, and I get angry about it. Really angry. It is normal as far as I can see, what other response makes any sense? Living with so awful a loss is never going to feel alright since it is not the result of an accident or some unfortunate disease, it is just plain meanness. Just plain being mean spirited. It might change or I might go to my grave alone. Sucks but these are the times we are in. Treating parents with respect used to be inviolate but now nothing has that quality of steadfastness.

    1. Lupin

      Exactly. I kicked a plastic laundry basket the last time I was overwhelm by anger at this injustice to our whole family. So what. I fixed the basket and did the laundry. This sh** is super hard, harder than most other tragedies life can bring.

  41. Lynn

    Thank you for this article regarding anger and dealing with adult kids. I am currently struggling with anger, sadness and confusion. I feel gas-lighted by my oldest daughter. She does not call me on Mother’s Day because she says that she is working a double shift but sent a group text to me and included her two siblings to say happy Mother’s Day and how much she loves me. She does not call me on my recent birthday, but sends a text message to say happy birthday and that I will be receiving something in the mail and that was over a week ago! She’s said that in the past too, and nothing showed up. My other two adult kids called me and sang happy birthday to me and I felt happy that they did! In my mother’s heart, a phone call is nice but a text message inappropriate and impersonal to me. She calls me when she needs something but can’t call on Mother’s Day or my birthday? I call Bull**** on that! As a Christian, I am to forgive her. She has humiliated me in front of her siblings and we have needed to ban her from any family gatherings because of how much trouble she starts with her siblings and all to get negative attention and if we call her out on it, she screams and yells and says how much more I love her brother and sister compared to her. I did not show favoritism while the 3 of them grew up. She rejected us when she was 15 to say that she did not need parental guidance any longer and it has been hell to be around her ever since. She was a sweet little girl but has grown into someone who is self centered with an entitled attitude unlike her siblings who show appreciation for what they earn in life. Thank you for letting me speak my mind. I need some boundary advice. I have read your first book and I cried the whole way through reading it! It has encouraged me over and over! Thanks again!

  42. Peony

    My anger is what saved me. With two abusive and manipulative adult children playing tag team, anger was the force necessary to set off the alarms that something had to change. I could wallow in the same torrential grief forever, or I could take my power and my life back and stop allowing them to control me. My health was suffering…mainly digestion issues and chronic pain, but it was there to get my attention. Meanwhile, the “kids” were and are currently going on happily in their lives, seemingly without a care in the world. At least not for me. The injustice of the imbalance dawned on me and filled me with the same rage I felt as a trapped and abused child, except now I could freely express those feelings and process them with then help of my therapist. I have choices. I am no longer trapped, and I am not interested in my role as scapegoat and doormat any longer. In walking away from my estranged children (and consequently a grandchild), I experience grief in waves, but I am no longer holding it in or allowing circumstances that will pile on. I know that I deserve the peace I have gained and that I clawed my way out of hell to obtain. For me, anger has been a gift indeed.

  43. Angela W.

    First is shock, then disbelief, then immense emotional pain, then anger and emotional pain, then acceptance, then healing. I found research helpful, then clarified I wasn’t narcissistic as I had been told (among other things), then I wrote down my truths. Values I lived by, how I act to others, friends and family. I found that helpful since I endured 3 years of shameful over the top criticism and abuse. If I didn’t have friends and family supporting me that would be very hard. You must tell your friends and family. This is a form of domestic abuse and you will get support. I found I apologized so much to my son’s wife with her only to do dupers delight when she didn’t accept it. I had no reason to apologize except she wanted it but in truth she didn’t. She only wanted to torment me. I’ve finally understood I’m not the one with the problem. I spend joyful time with the rest of my family and friends. Each day is hard but I praise God to what I’ve been given. I feel sadness to what I don’t have but that is to expected by a loving woman. Then I focus on what I have. I think of all the mothers overseas who let their children move to far away countries never to see them again. We really only have our children til they are 18. After that they are free to go. Enjoy the ones that choose to stay.

  44. Alexandra

    Hello Sheri,
    As usual, your insights are true. Yes, I am angry at my son and DIL. It has been 2 years + and I am marginalized out of his family. I am allowed to see the kids once a month at a restaurant, or occasionally at their home. My DIL has taught my grandsons not to hug for fear of COVID, and now my older grandson won’t hug me. I am not allowed to be alone with the boys for fear I will talk politics with them (they are 4 and 9 and I have NEVER done so) or my Christian faith (which I asked if I could, was told no, and never have done.) They seem to think I am plotting to try and turn the boys against them because of the estrangement. I would never do that. It’s so hurtful. The boys live 2 miles from me and I used to have the older one over for weekend sleepovers and take him places. I spoke my opinions – respectfully for 3 minutes – at a school board meeting 2 years ago, against CRT, and my DIL, who is a school counselor on multi-year sabbatical with the boys, freaked out, afraid i would tarnish her social credit and somehow tar her reputation with my opinions because we share the same last name. She found out I had spoken and would not confront me herself but sent my son to tell me I was ruining their lives. She was never harmed by my opinion but she hates me for it. I am conservative and she is progressive. Ever since then, my husband and I have been cut out of their lives. We are astonished it has come to this and heartbroken. I even apologized to her this last Christmas for not considering her career when I spoke. What I said had NOTHING to do with her, but she made it personal and has overreacted and considers us “toxic” now. I am angry. I am devastated. It’s destroyed my family. It’s hard to deal with the anger I sometimes feel. I have seen a therapist but the therapist doesn’t seem to think I have done anything to warrant this cruelty. I feel like walking away from her and my son, whom we have done so much for, but I desperately want a relationship with my grandsons.

    1. Sydney

      I can relate to so much of what you have shared. My grief therapist told me that no human being could help me- lean heavily on my faith which is central in my life. That is what I am doing and it remains a struggle. I suffer and cannot bear to think about how I feel, cut off from my three grandsons, 5, 8, and 9. Truthfully, I am so concerned about their emotional well- being with my dysfunctional son ( Narcissistic Personality Disorder diagnosed ) and his toxic, selfish wife. They think I am the problem because I will not be crushed by them and enforce my boundaries for emotional well-being. Cannot understand how my son and his wife could be so cruel to someone who has done nothing bad to them. I am invisible to them- not heard.

    2. Ginny R

      My goodness! Your feelings are mine! My daughter in law was a special Ed teacher for many years. You can’t give any instructions about raising her children. They are very liberal and although my 41 year old son was raised in church he decided years ago he is an atheist and forbids anything of God in his house or with his 3 year old daughter and 6 year old son.
      I am a Believer and I have about 5 close friend who has one adult son or daughter that has suddenly rejected their parent/parents. I truly believe it is a demonic attack against families.

  45. K D

    I feel the best thing for me to do mentally, physically and emotionally is walk away. I have written, phoned, texts apologized and to no avail has anything worked. Reached out to other family members and now hated by all. It saddens me because I am not a person to give up but I give up.

    1. Alexandra

      KD, I feel the same. I don’t like being around them because I am treated so coldly and not included in their lives. I can’t take the days of anguish I feel after seeing them and feeling the coldness.

    2. Brent W.

      I think letting go describes what you have done…not giving up. And letting go is healthy in my view…particularly when we can’t control our estranged child from their disunifying and mean behavior. I find I get varied reactions from others when I explain that my daughter has estranged herself from me. People close to me and who know me say I don’t deserve it. People not so close say they can’t comment on it without hearing my daughters side of the story. This leads me to believe that I should only share it with people who know me really well. People who don’t know me are left wondering what I must have done to elicit such an extreme reaction from an adult child. And that’s not helpful when on my heart I know I e done nothing to deserve estrangement.

    3. Pam

      Because of my estrangement from my daughter (close to two years now) I also have become estranged from family. My sister (who was my best friend), cousins, nieces. I have no idea what caused my daughter to kick me to the curb; maybe they all do and believe whatever she has said? I don’t think that is it. Rather I think that absolutely no one can understand the grief and heartbreak that comes when your kid abandons you. My family didn’t understand and were tired of my heartbreak and distanced themselves. I just walked away from it all. Sent my daughter an email that told her I would always love her but I couldn’t go on trying unless she was honest with me about what the problem was between us. I got off social media and blocked several people on my phone. Do I feel better? Not really. I’m terribly lonely and still very sad.
      But, I guess this my life now.

      1. Anne M.

        21 years ago, I finally left and divorced my husband after 27yrs, having put up with his drinking and lack of care ‘for the sake of the children’. I worked full-time to put them through good schools and university but that was thrown back at me – ‘I wish I had never been to that school’ etc.

        Fast forward- I now have 2 estranged sons, both chosen by their wives who cleverly manipulated them away from me, one when he was 19 (now 40) and the other 42 yr old son cut off 4 yrs ago, taking my 3 grandsons from me. Both sons had the best educations but I think they are weak and go the easiest way, especially where their wives are concerned.
        My mother and brother knew what I was going through, told me to leave him, yet sided with my ex. My mum once said ‘I’ll only be happy when he’s (my ex) found someone new.’
        I met my now husband and we married in 2010. Tried to build relationships but it was one-sided.

        As of 1 year ago, I’ m now without blood family. I have been angry, hurt, disbelieving for years. Then my mother showed me a solicitor’s letter saying she had disinherited me and all was going to my brother. Apparently, my sons knew and said it was ‘fair’!
        I’m too tired to be angry any more and too confused to try to make sense of what has happened. So after 20+ years I’ve moved on into a new phase of life. Re-asserted myself. Life is out there again for me. I volunteer, garden, walk, cook, knit, read, holiday. But I don’t tell many people very much of my history. I took Sheri’s advice from Done with the Crying on that. Only a select few know and truly understand.
        Sadly, though this epidemic seems to be ever- growing. I fear social-media has usurped loving parents.

        1. Lisa W.

          Dear Anne,
          I am in the same boat. I am estranged from both my parents and only sister. I am the family scapegoat so they sided with my narcissistic son and DIL. Luckily I have a loving husband and another son. This is called the double whammy. I have moved on and traveling, camping and enjoying life. It took a few years but I am better off without them. I still worry about my grandkids but am enjoying my life. I wish you the best

      2. Patricia H.

        Pam, you are so completely on target….no one can understand unless they have experienced something similar. My mother who is in her 70’s now lives far away from me. I had moved out of state at 29 years old to start a new life with my three very young daughters and their father. Fast forward over 20 years, I now have an estranged daughter, who was very toxic and abusive. She up and moved out of state in Feb with her God awful bf….and then married him. We only know because of other people spying on her social media. Anyway….When I try and talk about all I have been through over the last years, my mother compares it to when I left home. This leaves me angry and frustrated. I never treated my mother as my daughter has me, with the screaming and degrading name calling. I never left her out of my plans. I would never cut my mother off. My daughter didn’t simply “move away”, and now that my mother doesn’t seem to get it, I feel less like talking to her and more alone.

    4. Jill S.

      I’m right there with you, KD.
      Hated by all and never to see my lost daughter again, I have written her off and moved in. She only haunts me in my dreams now.
      You learn to live with pain. It lets me know I’m still alive.
      Hang in there, my friend.

  46. Sherry r.

    My youngest one, dumped me about 12 or 13 yrs. Ago.
    I have FINALLY lost count!!
    I wasn’t ever angry but deeply hurt instead. I took it badly. I went through the stages of crying, begging for over 10 yrs, seeing a shrink, a variety of medications and so forth. I hung in there for over 10 yrs. My deep christian faith, chilurch and praying has helped me.
    It wasn’t my decision but instead her’s she took the cowardly exit out of it all and will not confess to me the horrofic and unforgiveable and guility crimes i am guilty of. I do not cry nor think of this soul any longer.
    Perhaps, it is better for my emotional and mental status to ever know this.
    I have 2 0ther children whom bother with me and may just like me a little.
    The crying just ceased one day.
    I am nearly 75 and she controls the reigns and has the power. I have none of this and am at her mercies and forgivenesses and will never know what guility crimes i have been accused of.

    1. Brent W.

      I have experienced the same, without the crying and pleading. I don’t believe I did anything that warrants estrangement. As one author said, there are children of highly abusive parents who would never think of estranging their parents, and their are children of good parents who will estrange at the drop of a hat. My daughter falls into the latter category.

  47. lost in missouri

    I have two estranged adult children. I am mad, angry, hurt, sad, and wondering why? They have disappeared from my life, their choice. Anger has become my friend. It is so hard to watch my friends have grandchildren, happy families because I struggle to wonder what happened to mine? Their childhoods were great and happy. Why? Did i not love them enough, give them enough, protect them enough? They were my whole world. No one around me understands and it has been so long now, I see no hope in sight. I am a believer in God and my faith is being tested. I just would like to see a picture… something… please God.

    1. Alexandra

      This makes my heart ache. I know how you feel. It is not the close, loving grandparenthood I envisioned. It is instead cold and lonely.

    2. Lauren

      I am so sorry for your loss. I understand, because my son walked away from me as well. Not all at once, just ever so slowly over 15 years. Every time I think I accept it and move past the pain, I get a text from him out of the blue asking how I am. Very strange. I trust God, and had entrusted my son into Gods hands from the day he was born. There are things we don’t know that only God knows. God loves them more than we do. If God has been so generous and good to us, He will also be so with our children.. never stop praying.
      Just as I had been estranged from my father and came back to him in my own time, I believe anything is possible still for my son and me. And for you and your children. Please do not give up hope. Live your life, be loving kind and generous with others just as you were to your children. In this world, some people will love you, and others will not, including possibly our own offspring. I found a balance of surrendering to God and outwardly being there for others who go through painful situations. I think it’s made me a better person. Maybe it’ll do the same for my son. I’ll pray for you, and please try to enjoy your life anyway. People will love you, you are lovable, by the love of God.

  48. Kiera A.

    Initially, when my adult daughter decided to cut off contact with me I wanted to hide, become a turtle who could hide in my shell. My sense of pride in being ” Super Mom” was so wounded as I’m sure many of you have experienced. I went through a very rough period trying to figure out what I did wrong, feeling the judgment from family and friends. Then, anger, a part of my grieving process appeared. It was the BEST thing for my healing. My anger was not fueled with rage or out of control, it was a deep-seated, aching anger. This anger has allowed me to protect myself and stop acting spineless. My anger has opened up reality, my daughter has been intentionally cruel to me for many years and I constantly sought to please her in hopes she would be kind and actually like me. Much like I did with her father, my ex-husband when he treated me similarly during our marriage. I wanted to be able to be like everyone else, post on social media about the great times my adult daughter and I were having together! My anger has allowed me to see the situation clearly, my adult daughter is not nice, she is manipulative, she is a bully and I have finally realized-I DO NOT want a relationship with someone who has those attributes EVER again in my life. Although this is far from what I imagined would be my relationship with my adult child, I also realized I’ve been grieving something that was never there. I raised her, I love her and I am SO happy for the years of “Super Mom”, but also can now be content in letting go. Thank you Anger.

    1. Elizabeth

      I completely understand you because the same happened to me. I put everything I had and more, (including putting a hold on my career to stay home), into raising our two children. They had a blessed life that was full emotionally, financially- and we even paid for their college years. Fast forward, our only adult daughter and grandchild cut us off abruptly. It’s been a year and a half since I’ve spoken with her. I was beyond devastated for months, but, here’s the good part, my ANGER has gotten me through to the other side.

      Once I realized that I wouldn’t treat my own worst enemy as badly, and as disrespectfully as she has treated us, her own mother and father, my anger grew and grew. I too, thought about all the times she was disrespectful, belittling me, and mocking my opinions. She has ignored, ghosted, blocked, been cruel to us. Wrote a scathing letter cutting us off. She even texted us and told us we were controlling her, even though we haven’t seen her for a year and a half!

      I began to realize and see that without her in my life, I am at peace with myself and my life. No more drama from her, no more worries whether I’ll say the wrong thing to her. No more walking on eggshells around her. No more cruelty from her. The anger has made me realize I might just be better off without her in my life. This is not someone I would have as a friend, or that I enjoy being around, so why would I want her in my life?

      And I arrived here, through my anger at how poorly I am being treated. I agree- THANK YOU ANGER. I consider now, that my anger has successfully steered me in the best direction for me and my life. Peace for my remaining years.

      1. Janeen

        Elizabeth, thank you for your post. It resonated with me. Our experience was similar. Our daughter was an only child who had an only child, our wonderful little granddaughter. 2 years ago after our 38 years old daughter got everything she could from us financially and emotionally, she decided she needed boundaries from us. No explanation, no responding to our numerous attempts to reach out to her, no compassion, no caring…no love. We realized we had been duped. In reality she never had these feelings for us and her true self finally emerged. She was a taker in every sense of the word. We were very angry..very hurt…very despondent. Finally we realized this was our new reality and we could either be crushed by it and crawl into a dark hole and wait to die, or we could stand up straight, look reality in the eye and be stronger for it. Was it easy? Absolutely not, but my husband and I, both feisty septuagenarians, are finally in a place of relative peace. We moved 6 months ago to the Big Island of Hawaii from Oregon. My brother, sister-in-law and grown niece and nephew and their children live 3 doors down from us. They are thrilled to have us part of the “Ohana” (Hawaiian for family).
        Does our heart still ache at time for what could have been? Sure, but with a growing and genuine faith in God and surrounded by family who love us and newly minted friends, we are finally looking forward and not backward.
        Our love and prayers go out to every parent who has gone through estrangement from their children. It is a journey no one would willingly choose, but we are realizing the old saying is really true… “An old door closes and a new window opens”.
        Love to all.

    2. Toni D.

      I agree with you. I do not want a relationship with a person who has those attributes. I was a good Mom. My son and his wife do not want a relationship with me. They maintain some semblance of a relationship with my ex-husband who left us for long periods of time without letting us know where he was. Their relationship with my ex-husband is dependent on their getting what they want and manipulation which is not a “real” relationship. I am thankful not to dwell within their drama and disrespect.
      Best to all of you and thanks to Sheri for providing this forum for us all.

      1. Silvi

        Your story is a mirror! the similarities are immensely the same.
        And the outcome of dealing with the unexpectedly and ,unbelievable maladresse behaviour of them made me realize how cruel they are and how unacceptable .
        Without a doubt in my mind I have decided that I no longer would tolerate this madness and I will never again being treated without respect . They know what they did,
        The Lies, the hiding , the pretending and having the guts of facing me with hypocrisy.
        When they came for vacationing in my city with the grandsons I offered my house it was big enough,
        but they declined , pretending it would be best if they rent an hotel more center for activities and we could meet more efficiently and, « in my mind » I said sure it make sense « naively « I even offered to pay for the rental but again he declined saying no mommy is t find we planned it in our budgets with the kids and all we’ll see each other plenty during the week . Ok I said because usually I pay for everything even if I go visit grocery, beer wine a d gifts.
        Upon they arriving the next day we’ve decided to go to a big huge activity kids related park attractions I invited them, bring the lunch, drinks for the kids wine beers and all , it was a nice day with the grandsons.
        Kiss kiss goodbye see you later kind of !
        No news for the rest of the week and pouf they left . ( while they spend the week vacationing supposedly at a near by hotel, they were actually at my ex husband house. Overwhelmed by the news and angry
        What my son and DIL does not know is that my EX and I are talking from time to time and have a parenting type of relationships UNTIL that ultimate week . I couldn’t believe what he was telling me praising me to understand.
        My EX had express to our son how hurtful it be for me if he does not tell me why he preferred staying with him and my son to reply he would explained but never did.)
        seeing pictures of them on an app sharing in all kinds of activities. I cannot express enough my disbelief the hurts was my first heartfelt and sadness , extending to the reality of whom my son had become after marriage without a reasonable facts I am still at aw since . But I use reverse psychology and took over my life and I will not be controlled disrespected by neither of them DIL or my son .

        1. Missy

          I do think they know how much they hurt you by limiting their time with you. My daughter and SIL would come to a neighboring town for Thanksgiving with Ex inlaws spend all week and spend 29 minutes on their way out of town. My mother who was alive at the time felt the same way as she babysat when they were sick and treated them very well. I had friends and neighbors ask and I would point out how she treated other friends growing up after a fallout. One friend who would go home after leaving out house would cry from my daughter’s bullying. I had no idea. Asked me about my next trip and it happened to be where she lived. She immediately asked if I would visit and I said no. Sadly, she understood. I was with a group of 20 from my ski club and someone asked if my daughter still lived there and I said yes. He asked if I was going to see my daughter and I just said it was complicated. It is sad but yes that anger has made me seek out new venues and friends. I joined a church group, a ski club, went to Egypt and met my friend that I text daily and she is like a daughter to me. We have gone to Israel and Jordan. We will go on safari in Nairobi and Tanzania in fall and Galapagos next summer. So when one door closes, another opens! Prayers for all to keep your hearts open and not hard.

    3. Ann

      You have hit the nail on the head for me. This is my situation.
      Thanks for letting me know I am lot alone.

  49. Susan P.

    Just want to thank you for how timely and intelligent this piece is. I’m evidently experiencing suppressed anger, visible through digestive and sleep issues. I think it is easier for women to feel sad than angry, and it’s also easier to express to others and not feel so alone. Fact is, I am ANGRY! I’m awakening from a dream where I would get re-engaged with nice words, “love you’s” and superficial relating, only to be broadsided with hostility, gaslighting and manipulating conversations where I had no voice. Then days, months of working through the confusion. I’m grateful for this re-consideration, and think it could also be dangerous to our hearts, if we don’t work with it, acknowledge it, and respect ourselves in the process.

  50. Ann

    I found that I stayed in a bit of shock when our son walked away. I was truly lost.
    Our son has had much love, great experiences, and many opportunities.
    None of this made sense. I kept trying to figure out why.
    I was crushed. I was stuck.
    Finally one day I wrote to him and said “I don’t deserve this.”
    It was actually liberating! I was actually giving myself permission to move on.
    I love my son, but present day, I realize it is time to get on with my life instead
    of looking back trying to realize where we went off the rails.

  51. Debs

    As a palliative caregiver, I learned the process of grieving.
    Shock, disbelief, anger, depression then acceptance.
    This is the same but the anger lingers because as parents we always feel there is hope and when that hope doesn’t materialise, the anger does.
    Mine is still there and I find it difficult to express as our lives have moved on and strangely it no longer feels as relevant as it did which in turn reinforces the feelings.
    I’m lucky in that I have a great partner, eldest son and friends who, if I wish I can talk to freely, I keep busy and try not to dwell but in all honesty? I don’t think the anger will ever leave me because I know we’ve been wronged and there are no answers. We just have to learn to live with it and accept it as part of who we now are.

    1. Sheri

      Thank you for sharing this. I had to deal with the depression before I could feel angry. But, the anger has made me feel whole again. Like others, I have done everything I can to apologize for whatever it was I did, I have read copiously on estrangement to find clues, I have repeatedly asked to talk about the situation and committed to doing better. Crickets. Finally (and it took 3 years), I realized I am NOT the problem and this is no longer the son I raised to be a kind and compassionate man. I like my anger and, once again, I like myself. I think I have made it to Acceptance!

    2. JOAN

      Hello everyone, so happy
      to finally meet my sisters.
      All your stories sound very interesting yet very familiar. I’m finally strong
      enough to share my story
      My daughter left me at12
      10yrs ago.My son moved
      out 3 yrs ago. Two weeks
      later, I had a brokenheart attack.My name is Joan.
      Im an estranged parent.

      1. Angela

        Yes, I am the mother (and was a good one!) to two estranged adult daughters. I too was hospitalized in the cardiac unit with Takotsubo Syndrome, AKA “broken heart” syndrome caused by stress and grief. There’s been several years of no contact. Years of intense grief, rage, and bewilderment built up. After these many years, I did get a bouquet from them. All it said was “get well soon!”


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